Three Most Valuable Players:
1. Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Hield is far and away the best player that the Big 12 has seen since Blake Griffin. He led the conference in scoring, free throw percentage, three-point percentage, and three-pointers made. Hield’s mammoth season was highlighted by his 46-point performance at Kansas and his 39-point performance against Iowa State in the Big 12 Tournament. With all due respect to Denzel Valentine at Michigan State, it would be an absolute travesty if Hield doesn’t win National Player of the Year.
2. Perry Ellis, Kansas
Ellis, in many ways, is the Tim Duncan of college basketball. Not only because he and Duncan look to be the exact same age, but also because Ellis is about as consistent and fundamentally sound as they come. Ellis led the Jayhawks in scoring; notching double-digit point totals in 20 of the teams 21 conference games (including the Big 12 Tournament). He has led Kansas to the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and has his sights set on hanging a sixth National Championship banner in Allen Fieldhouse.
3. Georges Niang, Iowa State
If you look at a box score from any given Iowa State game this season, you will see that Niang is more than capable of lighting it up from the field. What you won’t see in that box score is the senior forward’s incredible leadership that held this Iowa State team together after Ames’ favorite son, Fred Hoiberg, left his head coaching position with the Cyclones for the NBA during the off-season. Niang single-handedly kept his team in several games this year and proved that he is capable of going toe-to-toe with anybody in the country.
Biggest Surprise: Texas Tech
Tubby Smith’s squad was picked to finish dead last in the Big 12 prior to this season after posting an abysmal 3-15 record in conference play last year. Led by a strong sophomore class of Zach Smith, Keenan Evans, Justin Gray, and Norense Odiase, the Red Raiders silenced many of their critics with victories over Oklahoma, Iowa State, and Baylor on their way to a 9-9 record in conference play. Tech’s breakout season helped earn Tubby Smith Big 12 Coach of the Year honors. Tech earned their first NCAA Tournament birth since 2007, and the program should continue to be on the rise the next few seasons.
Biggest Disappointment: Oklahoma State
Cowboy fans didn’t have much to cheer about this season. Senior guard Phil Forte attained a season-ending elbow injury in just the third game of the year, and the Cowboys’ season seemed to spiral out of control from there. The Forte-less Cowboys finished a brutal Big 12 season with a 3-15 record. Good news out of Stillwater is that my buddy Jace can now end his boycott of OSU basketball games, as it was reported Saturday that the school plans to fire head coach Travis Ford.
Biggest Controversy: Buddy Hield’s half-court buzzer beater against West Virginia
If only Buddy had another tenth of a second…
Best Short Video:
My thoughts exactly, Uncle Anthony.