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Tennessee picked to finish 5th in SEC by the media

The picks are in.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Columbus Practice Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball season is upon us. In just over two weeks we’ll see Tennessee take the floor for the first time this season, lacing them up against Eastern New Mexico in an exhibition matchup.

But before all that, it’s time for the media to weigh in on the outlook of the 2019-20 season. They famously picked Tennessee to finish 13th out of 14 teams just two years ago. Of course, the Vols went on a tear and ended up winning the regular season title that year.

Now without Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield or Jordan Bone, what will the Vols look like? According to the SEC media, they aren’t expected to fall too far. They’ve been picked to finish fifth in the conference, behind Kentucky, Florida, LSU and Auburn.

SEC Media Projections: 2019-20 Basketball

1. Kentucky Wildcats

2. Florida Gators

3. LSU Tigers

4. Auburn Tigers

5. Tennessee Volunteers

6. Alabama Crimson Tide

7. Mississippi State Bulldogs

8. Ole Miss Rebels

9. Georgia Bulldogs

10. South Carolina Gamecocks

11. Arkansas Razorbacks

12. Texas A&M Aggies

13. Missouri Tigers

14. Vanderbilt Commodores

Elsewhere, senior guard Lamonte Turner was named to the preseason SEC second team by the media. He and fellow senior Jordan Bowden are expected to lead Tennessee this season, driving what should be a more guard-centered offensive attack. Five-star freshman guard Josiah James should also hold a prominent role.

Tennessee will be tasked with replacing just about all of its frontcourt from last year, outside of John Fulkerson, who will likely grow into a starting role this year. Uros Plavsic will provide some size, assuming he can secure a waiver from the NCAA after transferring in from Arizona State.

Florida’s Kerry Blackshear Jr. was picked by the media to be the SEC’s player of the year. You may remember Tennessee being heavily involved in his transfer process. The Vols were once thought of as the leader for Blackshear, but the 6-11 power forward opted to go closer to home and play with the Gators. That should be an interesting storyline to follow this year inside of the conference.

Tennessee’s first game that counts is set for November 5th against UNC-Asheville. They’ll get Murray State a week later, then head to Toronto where they’ll face Washington in their first real test of the season.