Only 12 more entries now in our Pac-12 Friday miniseries on college basketball in the Conference of (real NCAA) Champions and its Midwest partners, the B1G, as we will only go back to the 64-team era of March Madness. For this season, specifically, though, it was a rough year as nine teams from the two leagues combined made the NCAA Tournament—with just one team (Arizona) advancing to the Sweet 16. That was pure decimation, unfortunately.
1996 Pac-10 PoY: Shareef Abdur-Rahim, F, California (original, confirmed)
UCLA won the conference title by 3 games over Arizona, with Stanford finishing 1 game behind the Wildcats. However, fourth-place California had the PoY vote winner: forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim (5.4 WS). And he was the only player in the league to top our 5.0 WS threshold for PoY worthiness. Therefore, we confirm his vote win easily without further need for discussion. The Golden Bears ended up just a single game behind the Cardinal in the standings, for the record.
1996 B1G PoY: Brian Evans, F, Indiana (original, confirmed)
Purdue won the league by 3 games over both Indiana and Penn State, as Hoosiers F Brian Evans (5.5 WS) was named the conference PoY by the media. Other candidates under consideration are Michigan F Maceo Baston (6.5) and Iowa center Russ Millard (6.4). These were the only three players to meet our criteria (minimum 5.0 WS on a team with a winning league record). Since both the Wolverines and the Hawkeyes had other players in the Top 8 for value, we confirm Evans.