The Latest from SEC men’s basketball media day on Wednesday (all times local):
LSU coach Johnny Jones says it is fair to criticize him for the Tigers’ inability to earn an NCAA Tournament bid last season with the No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Ben Simmons on the roster.
“I’ll be that guy who will stand up and say anything that was lacking in last year’s team, you can certainly point it at me,” Jones said Thursday. “I’m the head basketball coach. At the end of the day, all that falls on my shoulder and we continue to get better. But at the end of the day, if you’re in the top three in a conference of this magnitude, you’d think you’d get in the NCAA Tournament, but you just didn’t have any control over that.”
Jones stopped short of saying the entire season was a disappointment, pointing to LSU’s accomplishments. The Tigers went 19-14 overall and 11-7 in conference play to finish in a three-way tie for third place in the league.
“I think at the end of the day, not making the tournament was a disappointment, but we did not declare that as a disappointing year for us,” Jones said. “We were 8-1 at home (in conference play). We had a tremendous fan base. We averaged over 11,000 fans a game, the third-largest increase in the country last year. So a lot of positive things happened for our team last year.”
Kentucky is the media favorite yet again to win the Southeastern Conference basketball title.
A media panel made the Wildcats as the overall preseason pick for the 12th time since the 1998-99 season in voting announced Wednesday.
Florida was picked to finish second, followed by Texas A&M, Georgia, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi and Mississippi State rounding out the top 10. Rounding out the preseason picks is Auburn at 11, followed by LSU, Tennessee and Missouri.
Arkansas senior forward Moses Kingsley is the preseason player of the year.
Georgia’s J.J. Frazier, Tyler Davis of Texas A&M and Kentucky teammates Edrice “Bam” Adebayo and De’Aaron Fox join Kingsley on the preseason All-SEC team with another pair of Wildcats on the second-team in Isaiah Briscoe and Malik Monk.