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 last year of the twentieth century (topically). The B1G placed 7 teams into March Madness, with two of them reaching the Final Four. Meanwhile, the Pac-10 had an odd year with only four teams reaching the NCAA Tournament—and three of them losing in the first round by a combined six points. Ouch!
1999 Pac-10 PoY: Jason Terry, G, Arizona (original, confirmed)
Stanford won the conference title by two games over Arizona and three games over UCLA. Wildcats guard Jason Terry (5.0 Win Shares) was named the league’s PoY in the vote; we’re going to confirm this vote without a lot of discussion, because the candidate pool is so small. The Cardinal placed three players in the top four for value, so they’re all out, and even though Terry ranked just fifth in value, no other Arizona player was in the Top 10. He deserved this award.
1999 B1G PoY: Mateen Cleaves, G, Michigan State & Scoonie Penn, G, Ohio State (original, tie); Morris Peterson, F, Michigan State (revised)
Oddly, we had another tie for the PoY vote in the B1G, between Michigan State guard Mateen Cleaves (4.1 WS) and Ohio State guard Scoonie Penn (6.2). The Spartans ran away with the league title by a six-game margin, though, and they won the conference tournament as well. Four Buckeyes ranked in the top eight for value—all with at least 5.0 WS to their credit. Yet only two Spartans are in the conversation: forward Morris Peterson (7.4) and center Andre Hutson (6.0).
In fact, Cleaves came in as only the fourth-most valuable member of his own team, demonstrating just how off the voters were at the time. Peterson finished second in the conference for value, and Hutson was fourth—usually this would disqualify both players from consideration, but MSU was so dominant, one of them has to win the award, and it will have to be Peterson for the significantly higher WS mark. We’re good with this.