For this entry on Pac-12 Fridays, we look back at the last real season before the Covid pandemic changed things in the sports world. Both the Conference of (real NCAA) Champions and its Midwest partners, the B1G, did well in the postseason, too. The Pac-12 tournament champ came very close to upsetting eventual national champion Virginia in March Madness, and the B1G double champ made it all the way to the Final Four. A great season, indeed!
2019 Pac-12 PoY: Jaylen Nowell, G, Washington (original, confirmed)
The Washington Huskies won the conference regular-season title by 3 games, while the Oregon Ducks won the tournament title. Huskies guard Jaylen Nowell (16.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.3 spg) took home the PoY vote honors in leading his team to that surprise title, two seasons after losing the top pick in the NBA Draft (Markelle Fultz). Nowell’s 5.0 WS mark was bested only by Oregon State forward Tres Tinkle (5.4), playing for a Beavers team that finished 5 games behind the Huskies.
The Ducks came together late in the season to get hot after also finishing 5 games out of first place, and no Oregon player was named to either the first or second all-conference teams. F Louis King (3.3 WS) had a fine season for the Ducks, but we don’t see any player more integral to his team’s high level of success than Nowell. Vote confirmed.
2019 B1G PoY: Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State (original, confirmed)
Michigan State and Purdue tied for the regular-season title, finishing one game ahead of third-place Michigan, and then the Spartans went on to win the conference tourney championship as well, beating the Wolverines for a third time during the season along the way. MSU G Cassius Winston (18.8 ppg, 7.5 apg, 3.0 rpg, 1.0 spg) was voted PoY, as his 7.7 WS mark was a full 2.1 WS higher than any other player in the conference.
Boilermakers G Carsen Edwards (5.6) was the next-best player in the league, so we confirm Winston’s award win, due to the Spartans’ double double and the vast WS gap between Winston and everyone else in the B1G.