Today on Pac-12 Fridays, the Conference of (real NCAA) Champions and its Midwest partners, the B1G, experienced a bittersweet season, with four teams combined reaching the Sweet 16—but none of them making it to the Final Four. That was a disappointment, for sure, especially with one of the B1G squads heavily favored to do so. We won’t name names, but maybe you can remember it as you read on below … Enjoy!
2016 Pac-12 PoY: Jakob Poeltl, F, Utah (original, confirmed)
The Oregon Ducks won the conference by 1 game over the Utah Utes and 2 games over both the Arizona Wildcats and the California Golden Bears. The Ducks also won the conference tournament, so PoY vote winner Jakob Poeltl, a forward at Utah, may not hold on to his hardware. He did lead the conference with 6.8 Win Shares, though, as four different Oregon players finished in the conference’s Top 10 for WS. That means all those Ducks are out.
Who else can compete with Poetlt then? Only Arizona F Ryan Anderson (5.4) and Cal F Ivan Rabb (5.1). They trail the Utes star in WS and in overall team success; Utah reached the conference tournament finals, beating the Golden Bears along the way, incidentally. We see Poetlt carrying a big load for a team that was the second-best squad in the conference, as the next-best player on the Utah roster finished with a mere 3.5 Win Shares. Poeltl keeps his hardware.
2016 B1G PoY: Denzel Valentine, G, Michigan State (original); Yogi Ferrell, G, Indiana (revised)
The Indiana Hoosiers won the league title by 2 games over the Michigan State Spartans and 3 games over Iowa, Maryland, Purdue, and Wisconsin. Meanwhile, the Spartans won the conference tourney by dropping the Terrapins and the Boilermakers in the semifinals and the finals, respectively. Therefore, we really should be focusing on Indiana and MSU for this award, and not surprisingly, the vote went to a player from one of those schools: MSU guard Denzel Valentine (7.2 WS).
He was tops in the conference, but Valentine had a lot of help from league top-5 guys F Matt Costello (5.1) and G Bryn Forbes (4.9). Meanwhile, Hoosiers G Yogi Ferrell (6.5) was the only Indiana player in the Top 10, and his next-best teammate came in at just 4.4 WS. So, Valentine was part of a three-headed monster, while Ferrell carried an undermanned team to the regular-season championship. The Spartans were loaded, but Yogi was mostly on his own. He wins our trophy.