Picks vary when it comes to SEC title winner

Published 7:00 am Thursday, November 11, 2021

Southeastern Conference media members picked Kentucky to again win the SEC regular-season championship and most oddsmakers also have UK as the team to beat in conference play. However, CBS Sports’ expert panel has the Cats picked to finish third in the SEC behind Alabama and Arkansas.

Alabama won the league title and SEC tourney championship last year and returns its top two scorers — Jaden Shackleford and Jahvon Quinerly, the CBS Sports Preseason SEC Player of the Year after averaging 12.9 points, 3.2 assists, and 2.2 rebounds as a redshirt sophomore. Coach Nate Oats also has a top-15 recruiting class.

Arkansas lost four of its top six scorers off last year’s NCAA Elite Eight team, including NBA lottery pick Moses Moody. At least three transfers are expected to start for Arkansas.

Kentucky also dipped heavily into the transfer portal and could also start three transfers — Sahvir Wheeler, Kellan Grady, and Oscar Tshiebwe. Kentucky is the highest-rated SEC team in the media poll at No. 10.

CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander and Jerry Palm picked Kentucky to finish second in the SEC behind Alabama and Tennessee while Gary Parrish picked the Wildcats third. Kyle Boone and David Cobb placed Kentucky in fourth place. None chose Kentucky to win the SEC.