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Coaches rate ‘Dores 7th in SEC; Matthew Fisher-Davis named 2nd team all-conference

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Basketball season is nearly here.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Northwestern vs Vanderbilt Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt basketball rallied from an awful start to fight its way into the NCAA Tournament in 2016-17. This winter, the conference’s coaches have ranked them in the middle of an up-and-down SEC.

The Commodores were predicted to finish seventh in the league this fall at SEC Media Days in Nashville. Kentucky, unsurprisingly, was pegged to repeat as conference champs. Also ranked ahead of Vandy are Florida, Texas A&M, Alabama, Missouri, and Arkansas.

Preseason Media Poll

  1. Kentucky
  2. Florida
  3. Texas A&M
  4. Alabama
  5. Missouri
  6. Arkansas
  7. Vanderbilt
  8. Georgia
  9. Auburn
  10. Ole Miss
  11. South Carolina
  12. Mississippi State
  13. Tennessee
  14. LSU

The SEC also released its preseason all-conference teams. Swingman Matthew Fisher-Davis, who led the team in scoring last spring, was the only individual player to earn all-SEC honors.

Preseason All-SEC

KeVaughn Allen - Florida, G, 6-2, 193, Jr., Little Rock, Ark.

Yante Maten - Georgia, F, 6-8, 243, Sr., Pontiac, Mich.

Hamidou Diallo - Kentucky, G, 6-5, 198, R-Fr., Queens, N.Y.

Michael Porter, Jr. - Missouri, F, 6-10, 215, Fr., Columbia, Mo.

Robert Williams - Texas A&M, F, 6-10, 241, So., Oil City, La.

Second Team All-SEC

Collin Sexton - Alabama, G, 6-3, 190, Fr., Mableton, Ga.

Kevin Knox - Kentucky, F, 6-9, 215, Fr., Tampa, Fla.

Terence Davis - Ole Miss, G, 6-4, 201, Jr., Southaven, Miss.

Deandre Burnett - Ole Miss, G, 6-2, 192, Sr., Miami Gardens, Fla.

Quinndary Weatherspoon - Mississippi St., G, 6-4, 205, Jr., Canton, Miss.

Tyler Davis - Texas A&M, C, 6-10, 266, Jr., Plano, Texas

Matthew Fisher-Davis - Vanderbilt, G/F, 6-5, 186, Sr., Charlotte, N.C.

Fisher-Davis will lead a Commodore team that must find a way to replace Luke Kornet’s production in the post. The 7’1 Kornet was a versatile center who could block shots in the paint and step out to the three-point line to make shots. This winter, head coach Bryce Drew will only have two players taller than 6’8 to replace him — redshirt sophomore D’Jery Baptiste and true freshman Ejike Obinna.

That will put an emphasis on the team’s backcourt play. where Fisher-Davis, Riley LaChance, and Payton Willis will be joined by a handful of exciting newcomers. Xavier transfer Larry Austin is finally eligible to play, and he’ll be flanked by athletic freshmen Saben Lee and Maxwell Evans. If those three can adapt to Drew’s style of play quickly, Vanderbilt can easily outshine the seventh-place prediction foisted on them by SEC coaches.