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UK picked to win SEC; Oscar Tshiebwe named Preseason SEC Player of the Year

UK edged out Arkansas as the preseason favorite to win the league.

Oscar Tshiebwe Drew Brown - Sea of Blue

The Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team has been picked by the media to win the SEC for the 2022-23 season, the league announced Wednesday.

In addition, senior forward Oscar Tshiebwe was named Preseason SEC Player of the Year. Tshiebwe was joined on the preseason All-SEC First Team by Sahvir Wheeler.

Kentucky is looking to claim its seventh regular-season title under John Calipari and 50th in program history. This marks the 17th time since the 1998-99 season the Wildcats are the SEC preseason favorite. Under Calipari, Kentucky has claimed regular-season SEC crowns in 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2020.

The Wildcats have also won the SEC Tournament six times under Calipari in 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

SEC Predicted Order Of Finish

1. Kentucky

2. Arkansas

3. Tennessee

4. Auburn

5. Alabama

6. Texas A&M

7. Florida

8. LSU

9. Ole Miss

10. Mississippi State

11. Missouri

12. Vanderbilt

13. Georgia

14. South Carolina

Tshiebwe, the reigning unanimous National Player of the Year, led the country in rebounding with 15.1 boards per game to go along with a team-high 17.4 points per contest a season ago. The 2022 First-Team All-SEC pick and Naismith Defensive Player of the Year finalist set a Kentucky single-season record with 28 double-doubles while finishing the season as the only major-conference player averaging 1.6 blocks and 1.6 steals per game

Wheeler, who was a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award for the nation’s best point guard a year ago, led the SEC and ranked third nationally with an average of 6.9 assists per game. Picked All-SEC Second Team by both the league’s coaches and media, Wheeler’s 207 assists were the fourth-most in a single season in UK history while the Houston native ranked second in the conference with a 2.27 assist-to-turnover ratio. In 30 games played in 2021-22, Wheeler averaged 10.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals to go along with his 6.9 assists per contest.