Our Pac-12 Fridays miniseries on basketball in the Conference of (real NCAA) Champions and its Midwest partners, the B1G, continues its journey into the recent past, looking at the 2009 season where six Pac-10 teams made the NCAA Tournament without a single one of them reaching the Elite Eight. On the other hand, seven B1G teams got invited to March Madness—with one of them making a run all the way to the national finals before losing to cheatin’ North Carolina. What a world …

2009 Pac-10 PoY: James Harden, G, Arizona State (original); Taj Gibson, F, USC (revised)

The Washington Huskies won the regular-season title by 1 game over the UCLA Bruins, while the upstart USC Trojans took home the conference tournament championship. Meanwhile, Arizona State guard James Harden (7.2 WS) won the PoY vote, despite the Sun Devils’ also-ran status in the regular season—although they, too, made a run in the conference tourney to the final against the Trojans. So, due to that, we will consider Harden in this analysis.

Then again, we won’t, as Harden’s teammate—forward Jeff Ayres—actually posted 7.3 WS for the year. They finished second and third, respectively, in the conference for value, so they cancel each other out. USC F Taj Gibson (7.7) led the conference, and there were no other Trojans in the Top 10 for value. In addition, no Bruins or Huskies came within 2.3 WS of that valuation, so we are giving this trophy to Gibson without conflict.

2009 B1G PoY: Kalin Lucas, G, Michigan State (original); Goran Suton, F, Michigan State (revised)

The Michigan State Spartans ran away with the regular-season title by 4 games, although it was the Purdue Boilermakers who won the conference tourney. Those are the only rosters we need for this analysis, which is good as Spartans G Kalin Lucas (3.8) won the PoY vote. Obviously, with a WS mark that low, though, he’s not winning this award, and in addition, his teammate—F Goran Suton—posted 5.3 WS, too. Crazy voting this time out, eh? So, who are our real candidates?

Well, Purdue placed two players in the Top 5 for WS value, so they’re both out, and Suton was the only MSU player in the Top 10. Thus, he will win our award, oddly enough, as the No. 4 player in the conference. Sometimes, though, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.