Our Pac-12 Friday miniseries on college basketball in the Conference of (real NCAA) Champions and its Midwest partners, the B1G, goes back to the first year of this century (topically)—which also happens to be the last time either league won the NCAA Tournament. Odd that these two conferences have gone 0-8 in the Finals since 2000, although when we look at the cheating teams still allowed to play, maybe it makes more sense … but we digress. On with the show!
2000 Pac-10 PoY: Eddie House, G, Arizona State (original); Loren Woods, C, Arizona (revised)
Arizona and Stanford tied for the regular-season title, finishing two games ahead of Oregon. Meanwhile, Arizona State guard Eddie House (4.5 WS) won the PoY vote despite the Sun Devils not qualifying for March Madness. He won’t win our hardware; our top candidates include Wildcats center Loren Woods (5.7), Arizona forward Michael Wright (5.5), and Cardinal G David Moseley (5.1). On the surface, it looks like Moseley could be our guy, but we have to look deeper.
Stanford actually had four players in the league’s Top 9 for value, and Arizona only had the top two players on that list. Since 5.0 WS is our threshold, we have to go with Woods—for having less support than Moseley and for being the more valuable of the two Arizona players in contention. It’s that simple. We have to add, though, that even though Stanford and Arizona finished No. 3 and No. 4 in the final Associated Press poll, neither team reached the Sweet 16. Brutal.
2000 B1G PoY: A.J. Guyton, G, Indiana, and Morris Peterson, F, Michigan State (original, tie); Ken Johnson, C, Ohio State (revised)
Michigan State and Ohio State tied for the regular-season title, beating out Purdue by one game and Illinois by two games. The Spartans won the conference tournament, too, on their way to the national championship. There was a tie in the PoY vote, between MSU F Morris Peterson (7.4 WS) and Indiana Hoosiers G A.J. Guyton (4.3), who finished three games out of first place. On the surface, it looks like Mo-Pete is our guy, but again … we must look deeper.
The Spartans were loaded, with four players in the league’s top six for value—and that didn’t even include G Mateen Cleaves, who was injured for a good part of the season. So while Peterson did lead the conference in WS, he may not be our pick for PoY. In truth, Buckeyes C Ken Johnson (6.0) was the only player from his team to reach our value threshold—as opposed to the four MSU players who surpassed 5.0 WS. So, he is our pick for PoY here, in a mild surprise.