Our first 2023 entry for this Pac-12 Fridays miniseries sees the Conference of (real NCAA) Champions and its Midwest partners, the B1G. Combined, the two leagues sent six teams to the Sweet 16, two teams to the Elite 8, and one team to the Final Four. Ironic, too, that the one team to reach the Final Four did so despite finishing fifth in the B1G and not making it out of the quarterfinals of the conference tourney. Sometimes, you just get lucky, you know? Enjoy the read below!

2013 Pac-12 PoY: Allen Crabbe, G, California (original); Arsalan Kazemi, F, Oregon (revised)

The UCLA Bruins edged out three other teams by one game to win the regular-season title, while one of those second-place teams—the Oregon Ducks—won the conference tourney. So, in addition to Oregon and UCLA, we also will consider players from California and Arizona for this award. As luck would have it, Golden Bears guard Allen Crabbe (5.1 WS) won the PoY vote at the time, so we can start with him and see who else is a legit candidate from these four squads.

The Wildcats had two players in the league’s Top 7 for Win Shares, while the other three schools had just one each: Oregon forward Arsalan Kazemi (5.7), Crabbe, and UCLA G Jordan Adams (4.8)—who won our trophy for the 2014 season. We have to look deeper into these rosters, and what we find is Kazemi with a 1.6-WS edge on his next-best teammate, which outdistances both Crabbe (1.2) and Adams (1.1). We will go with Kazemi for our PoY nod, especially with the Ducks’ Pac-12 tourney title.

2013 B1G PoY: Trey Burke, G, Michigan (original); Deshaun Thomas, F, Ohio State (revised)

The Indiana Hoosiers won the regular-season title by just one game over both the Michigan State Spartans and the Ohio State Buckeyes, as the latter took home the conference tournament championship. The PoY vote went to Michigan Wolverines G Trey Burke (8.6 WS), despite the fact his team finished fifth in the conference and didn’t reach the semifinals of the B1G Tournament. Burke was the “best” player in the league, for sure, but there’s little value there—and we will explain why below.

His teammate, F Glenn Robinson III, finished fifth in the conference for Win Shares (5.7), rendering them both useless in this exercise, since the two of them couldn’t get Michigan into the top echelon of the league. So who is left to consider for this award from either Indiana, MSU, or OSU? Well, the Hoosiers had three players in the Top 7 for WS, so none of them work. That leaves us with either Buckeyes F Deshaun Thomas (6.9) or Spartans center Adreian Payne (4.9). We will go with Thomas, clearly.