Georgia Basketball 2011: Dawgs Picked To Finish Eighth In SEC

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 18: Head coach Mark Fox of the Georgia Bulldogs talks with Dustin Ware #3 in the first half while taking on the Washington Huskies during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 18, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Expectations are low in Athens after the departures of Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie.

If the Georgia men's basketball team makes their first repeat trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2002, it will be a surprise to many, including most of the media covering the SEC. The conference's preseason media poll was just released, with Georgia in 8th place and no Bulldog on either of the preseason All-SEC teams.

The losses of Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie to the NBA clearly hurt, as the two juniors were the first Bulldogs selected in the NBA Draft since Rashad Wright was taken with the last pick of the second round in 2004.

The SEC, traditionally a football conference, is poised for an outstanding basketball season, with Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Florida all ranked in the preseason top 10 nationally. The Wildcats received the majority of the first-place votes, as they return preseason SEC player of the year Terrence Jones as well as two preseason second-team All-SEC players (Doron Lamb and Darius Miller) while adding a loaded freshman class that includes three projected first-round picks.

If Georgia is going to compete with the SEC's elite teams in Mark Fox's third season in Athens, not to mention squads like Alabama and Mississippi State, both with preseason first-team All-SEC players, they will need big seasons from their senior back-court of Dustin Ware and Gerald Robinson as well as incoming McDonald's All-American Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

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