Once again on Pac-12 Fridays, the Conference of (real NCAA) Champions and its Midwest partners, the B1G, played pretty well throughout the 2015 season, placing two teams in the Final Four and one team in the NCAA Championship Game. We will let you “guess” which two teams those were by reading below about the voted Players of the Year—and our choices for the same. Enjoy!
2015 Pac-12 PoY: Joe Young, G, Oregon (original); Delon Wright, G, Utah (revised)
The Arizona Wildcats won the regular-season title by three games, and they doubled down with a tournament title as well, beating the Oregon Ducks by 28 points (!) in the final. They clearly were the best team in the league, so the voted Player of the Year—Oregon guard Joe Young (5.6 WS)—may not keep his hardware in our corner of the interwebs. He actually finished just seventh in the league for Win Shares, so does anyone from Arizona’s roster top him?
Well, yes: Three Wildcats finished in the Top 5 for WS, rendering them all less valuable. But who stands out to us is Utah Utes guard Delon Wright (8.4), as he topped the next-best player in the league by 1.9 WS overall. And the Utes finished three games out first place, losing in the tournament to Arizona by just 3 points in the semifinals. That’s a pretty impressive effort for a team with its one true star atop the league’s sabermetrics. We’ll go with Wright here for our PoY pick.
2015 B1G PoY: Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin (original); Melo Trimble, G, Maryland (revised)
The Wisconsin Badgers also pulled off a double double on their way to the National Championship Game, winning the regular season by 2 games over Maryland and then winning the tournament final in overtime against Michigan State—which joined Wisconsin in the Final Four. Badgers center Frank Kaminsky (9.8 WS) was the best player in the conference, by far, but two of his teammates also finished in the Top 4 for Win Shares—creating a dilemma for Kaminsky’s voted PoY nod. Where’s the value?!
Even the Spartans had two players in the Top 8, so we look to Terrapins G Melo Trimble (6.1) as our pick. No one else from the Maryland roster was in the Top 10, and the Terps pushed Wisconsin almost to the very end for the regular-season title. MSU barely beat Maryland in the tournament semifinals, so Trimble was carrying a heavy load for the second-best team in the conference before finally running out of gas at the end. We know this is PoY award, but we still treat it like an MVP analysis. Trimble, it is.