The SEC released its preseason media poll and all-conference team on Tuesday. Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pippen Jr. was named the Preseason SEC Player of the Year.
Which is all well and good, but the media members also picked Vanderbilt to finish 13th in the 14-team SEC. Now I’m no media member, but something tells me that if Vanderbilt is finishing 13th in the SEC, no Vanderbilt player is going to win Player of the Year. I looked at the history of the award, and the worst team I could find that had the SEC Player of the Year was Ole Miss in 1971, which finished in a tie for 8th in the then-10-team SEC, and Neumann averaged 40 points per game. In other words, in all likelihood, only one of these things can be true: either Scotty will not be winning Player of the Year or Vanderbilt will finish better than 13th. There’s some precedent for a mid-pack SEC team to have the Player of the Year, most recently Yante Maten for 11th-place Georgia in 2018, but he had to share honors with Tennessee’s Grant Williams.
Joining Pippen on the preseason All-SEC First Team are Alabama’s Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly, Florida’s Colin Castleton, Kentucky’s Sahvir Wheeler, and Mississippi State’s Iverson Molinar.
Vanderbilt is picked to finish ahead of Georgia and no one else. Kentucky is picked to win the SEC, because of course they are, followed by Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Auburn. LSU is picked sixth, ahead of Florida, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Missouri. South Carolina is picked eleventh and Texas A&M twelfth.