BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – For the second year in a row, Ole Miss was voted to win the Southeastern Conference, as announced Thursday in the SEC Men’s Tennis Preseason Coaches Poll. The Rebels were also a consensus pick to claim their eighth consecutive SEC Western Division title.
The Rebels, ranked No. 9 in the nation in the preseason ITA national rankings, received seven first place votes for the overall SEC Championship, while Tennessee got three and Florida two.
Ole Miss captured the SEC Tournament Championship in 2008, won their seventh straight SEC West title and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight.
Leading the way for the Rebels this year is senior All-Americans Jonas Berg and Bram ten Berge. Also back is junior All-SEC Kalle Norberg and sophomore Tucker Vorster.
A highly touted freshman class includes U.S. Open Junior finalist Devin Britton, who served notice last weekend by advancing to the semifinals at the SEC Indoor. The freshmen class also includes German twins Marcel and Christoph Thiemann and Sweden’s No.1 prospect Otto Sauer.
Behind the Rebels’ consensus 71 votes on the Western Division side, LSU was picked for the No. 2 spot, followed by Alabama in third, Auburn in fourth, Arkansas in fifth and Mississippi State in sixth.
Tennessee was picked as Eastern Division Champion with 67 votes, with Florida being voted second. Georgia was voted third, with Kentucky in fourth, Vanderbilt in fifth and South Carolina in sixth.
The preseason poll is voted on by the SEC Men’s Tennis Coaches and is based on a 6-5-4-3-2-1 count. The complete tally for the poll is below.
The Rebels open the dual match season Jan. 29 at home against Troy. The match begins at 2 p.m., at the Gillom Sports Center. Following that match, Ole Miss will host the first and second rounds of the ITA National Team Indoor. Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. Rice, Wake Forest and Kentucky will travel to Oxford for the two-day event.
2009 Men’s Tennis Coaches Preseason Poll
1. Tennessee, 67
2. Florida, 59
3. Georgia, 53
4. Kentucky, 35
5. Vanderbilt, 22
6. South Carolina, 16
1. Ole Miss, 71
2. LSU, 54
3. Alabama, 44
4. Auburn, 43
5. Arkansas, 22
6. Mississippi State, 18
Overall Regular Season Champion: Ole Miss (7 votes); Tennessee (3); Florida (2)