Columbia, Mo. (MUTigers.com) - Missouri Basketball is making its move into the Southeastern Conference and a panel of SEC and national media members gave Head Coach Frank Haith's club a vote of confidence on Monday, picking the Tigers third in the SEC Preseason Media Poll, while junior guard Phil Pressey was selected as the league's Preseason Player of the Year.
Missouri (286 points) finished third in the team voting, behind defending national champion Kentucky (328) and the Florida Gators (310). Those two clubs have combined to win three of the last seven national titles, the most of any conference in college basketball during that stretch.
Missouri and Tennessee, who was picked fourth with 269 points, each received one first-place vote.
It's been an off-season of accolades for Pressey who enters his third season with the Tigers. One of just two returning players from last season's 30-5 club, Pressey was selected a Preseason First Team All-American by CBS and spent his summer competing at the LeBron James, Chris Paul and Deron Williams elite camps.
Pressey was a First Team all-league pick by CBS Sports last season and was a Big 12 All-Tournament Team selection after the Tigers claimed the league title in Kansas City. He averaged career highs in scoring (10.3), rebounding (3.3), assists (6.4) and steals (2.1).
In addition to Pressey, fellow backcourt mate Mike Dixon was named a Preseason Second Team All-SEC choice. Dixon was Missouri's most efficient scorer in league play last season and was college basketball's top scorer off the bench (13.5 ppg).
Pressey led all Southeastern Conference players with six votes for Player of the Year. Dixon received a vote as well.
The 2012-13 SEC Media Preseason Poll tips off SEC Basketball Media Day, October 25 at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama. The 2012-13 season begins November 9, with conference play set to begin January 8. The 2013 SEC Tournament will be held March 13-17 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.