Sports Illustrated Preseason SEC Basketball Power Ranking Released

Greg Arias

It should come as no surprise to most Vanderbilt basketball fans that their Commodore men's team is predicted to finish last in the SEC in more than a few preseason projections. 

So now that no one is surprised, Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo has released his first rankings of conference teams this preseason, and sure enough, Jerry Stackhouse's squad is sitting at No.14. 

Here's what Woo has to say when ranking the Commodores. 

14.Vanderbilt

"Losing not only Aaron Nesmith, but also Saben Lee to the pros poses a major hurdle for Vandy to gain traction this season. Notre Dame transfer D.J. Harvey is eligible and Dylan Disu showed flashes last season, but this situation, per usual, requires patience."

Woo's premise that losing Nesmith and Lee is a significant hurdle, but then the Commodores played the entire conference schedule without the Nesmith, as mentioned above. 

Lee's loss will be felt from a scoring standpoint as he almost singlehandedly beat the Tide in Tuscaloosa to close the regular season. 

The thought that the Commodores could finish last again isn't original. However, there is more optimism among the black & gold faithful this time around considering Vanderbilt managed to win three conference games last season. In upsetting then No.18 LSU in Nashville and closing the regular season by knocking off South Carolina in Nashville, and Alabama on the road, the Commodores, showed improvement in many areas. 

This Commodore squad should also benefit from the return of Clevon Brown, who missed all but the first nine games of the season with an injury. This season should also prove to be a deeper team, that while young and inexperienced, still has some talent and a nice mix of some veterans to lead the way. 

Among that improved depth, at least on paper would seem to be in the frontcourt where the Commodores were all but void of any real production last season. Along with Brown, Ejike Obinna returns and transfer Quintin Millora-Brown plus freshman Akeem Odisipe give Stackhouse more pieces to work with on the baseline. 

There's much work to be done before the Commodores hit the floor, but if Stackhouise can show the same level of improvement in this season like last year's team produced, getting out of the cellar isn't beyond possibility, regardless of what projections say. 

Follow Greg on Twitter @GregAriasSports and @SIVanderbilt or Facebook at Vanderbilt Commodores-Maven.

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