NASHVILLE - As Tennessee men's basketball coach Rick Barnes opened the Southeastern Conference's basketball media event at the Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday morning, he said of fellow league member Kentucky: "They've been successful for decades and decades. That's what separates them from everybody else."
It also doesn't hurt the 2016-17 edition of the Wildcats that Big Blue has four players chosen among the league's 12 best, according to the SEC's preseason media poll, which is probably the biggest reason that UK was picked to win the league for the 12th time since the start of the 1998-99 season.
Florida was picked second in the preseason poll, followed by Texas A&M, Georgia, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Alabama, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Auburn, LSU, Tennessee and Missouri.
No Tennessee player was chosen among the media's 12 recognized players _ five on the first team, seven on the second _ but Georgia point guard J.J. Frazier was a first teamer, Bulldog teammate Yante Maten was also on the second unit, as was Vanderbilt forward Luke Kornet.
UK freshmen point guard De'Aaron Fox and freshman post player Edrice "Bam" Adebayo each made the first team and fellow Wildcats Malik Monk (freshman guard) and Isaiah Briscoe (sophomore guard) made the second seven.
If the Vols' No. 13 ranking bothered them, they didn't let on during the media event.
Said senior wing Robert Hubbs III: "I wish they'd picked us last so we can make an even bigger impact."
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