College Sports

SEC releases preseason basketball poll. Here’s where the Gamecocks stand 

South Carolina men’s basketball has been picked to finish 10th in the SEC.

The media-voted preseason poll was released Tuesday, ahead of SEC media days in Birmingham. Kentucky was picked to win the league. No USC players were named to the media’s preseason All-SEC teams.

Frank Martin’s Gamecocks have a history of exceeding expectations. They’ve finished higher than where they were placed in the preseason SEC poll four of the last five years. USC finished fourth in 2018-19 after being picked to finish 11th.

While buzz has been generated around Columbia about the 2019-20 Gamecocks — Martin has called it his most athletic roster since arriving in 2012 — outside perception has been different.

“The underdog I guess,” USC guard A.J. Lawson said last week during Carolina’s on-campus media day, “they don’t expect much.”

Does that bother the Gamecocks?

“Definitely bothers me,” Lawson continued, “because I know we have a great team, great coaching staff, we can do a lot. So we just got to show them, everyday we got to practice, we just got to go hard and just compete with each other so we can be the best.”

Lawson, a reigning All-SEC freshman team member, is one of five returning USC players who averaged more than 20 minutes a game last season. Touted newcomers include transfers Jair Bolden and Micaiah Henry, plus freshmen Jermaine Couisnard, Wildens Leveque and Trae Hannibal.

South Carolina, which hasn’t made the Big Dance since the 2017 Final Four run, opens its season Nov. 6 at home against North Alabama.

Predicted Order Of Finish

1. Kentucky

2. Florida

3. LSU

4. Auburn

5. Tennessee

6. Alabama

7. Mississippi State

8. Ole Miss

9. Georgia

10. South Carolina

11. Arkansas

12. Texas A&M

13. Missouri

14. Vanderbilt

First Team All-SEC

Kerry Blackshear – Florida

Anthony Edwards – Georgia

Ashton Hagans – Kentucky

Breein Tyree – Ole Miss

Reggie Perry – Mississippi State

Second Team All-SEC

Kira Lewis Jr. – Alabama

Isaiah Joe – Arkansas

Andrew Nembhard – Florida

Tyrese Maxey – Kentucky

EJ Montgomery – Kentucky

Skylar Mays – LSU

Lamonté Turner – Tennessee

SEC Player of the Year

Kerry Blackshear – Florida

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Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.
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