It’s the end of the season as we know it, at least for the MVP Draft. After a first successful year, we have reached our final draft.
First off, for those who haven’t seen the MVP Draft before, here are the rules: Each participant will pick ONE PLAYER from EACH TEAM they think will perform the best. They will then pick a third player from either team as their wild card pick. Each correct pick is worth one point. We will tally the points throughout the season.
Before it all ends, we still need to tally up the points from last week.
Leyton Hammonds | ISU: Nazareth Mitrou-Long | Wild Card: Mitchell Solomon (OSU)
Jeffrey Carroll | ISU: Monte Morris | Wild Card: Phil Forte (OSU)
OSU: Jawun Evans | ISU:
Matt Thomas | Wild Card: Leyton Hammonds (OSU)
Opponent: Kevin Fitzpatrick
OSU: Jawun Evans | ISU: Monte Morris | Wild Card: Nazareth Mitrou-Long (ISU)
Oklahoma State: Why any of us picked anyone other than Evans in the second half of the season, I don’t know. He impressed again with 29 points on 12-of-21 shooting, four rebounds, and four assists. The kid always saved his biggest performances for the biggest games. I really hope we get to enjoy him for a few more games this season.
Iowa State: This really was a battle of point guards. When you go one assist shy of a triple-double, you get the point. Morris had 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. I love Evans, but Morris really is the best point guard in the Big 12 this year.
Wild Card: It was a close pick between Forte and Mitrou-Long. I had to stick to my rule of the winning team deciding the tie-breaker. Long had 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Forte had 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting. Point Long.
Sam - 20
Sumer/Phillip - 18
Opponent - 17
Tyler - 16
Tyler’s gamble didn’t pay off and he is officially out of it.
Well folks, the end of the draft is upon us.
No no, don’t cry. It’ll be back next year. For now, we wrap this year up with Oklahoma State’s NCAA opener against Michigan. The Wolverines come into the tournament winners of the Big 10 Championship. Needless to say, this should be a good one!
Joining us this week to make the opponent picks, is David Noe of our Michigan SBNation sister site Maize n Brew. Say Howdy folks!
Enough gib gab. LET’S PICK!
OSU: Jawun Evans | UM: Derrick Walton Jr. | Wild Card: Jeffrey Carroll (OSU)
Oklahoma State: If the Cowboys want to win their first game in the NCAA tourney since 2009, they are going to have to rely on Evans to get it all started. The undoubted leader of the team, Evans need to get going early and often if he wants to move on to the second round for the first (and last?) time of his college career.
Michigan: Walton is the heart and soul of the team, leading his team with 16.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 4.9 apg in conference play - all team highs. He averaged 20.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg and 6.3 apg during Michigan's improbable Big 10 Tourney title run. Walton only scored single digits twice in conference play, and if the Cowboys slow down Walton, their chances to win improve drastically.
Wild Card: Carroll can do everything for the Pokes. He can shoot from deep, drive and score, rebound, pass and defend. He going to have to have a good game to get the Pokes to the second-round matchup against likely opponent Louisville.
Since I’m officially out, do I get to judge this week so Phillip doesn’t have a conflict of interest?
OSU: Jawun Evans | UM: Zak Irvin | Wild Card: Phil Forte (OSU)
Oklahoma State: This is the last MVP draft of the season, I have a comfortable lead; but a lead that can still be blown if I mess around with my picks. (See Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Indians for notable post season choking). I have to make the most safe pick to assure that I get at least one point this game. I have to go with Jawun Evans here. The dude has been the best player all season for the Cowboys, and I see him hopefully taking over this game and having a big night. Michigan is playing good basketball right now, winning 10 of their last 12 games. It’s going to take a big performance from Evans to propel the Cowboys into the second round.
Michigan: Most people would go with Derrick Walton Jr. here, and most people would be right. But I have a weird feeling that Walton Jr. will be contained by OSU’s defense and someone else will have to step up. Irvin is the second leading scorer for Michigan, averaging 12.8 ppg. He also is third on the team in rebounds with 4.5 per game. I’m going to keep things interesting this week and hope that Walton Jr. has an off night.
Wild Card: No real statistics or flashy dunks to give you for Phil Forte. The dude is known for one thing and that is shooting the 3-ball. There is also nothing more that I love than the 3-ball. Forte can flat out stroke it, and weird things happen in March when shooters get hot. Forte can easily take over this game with his shooting ability, and his leadership will be crucial for the Pokes in the NCAA tournament.
OSU: Jeffrey Carroll | UM: Derrick Walton Jr. | Wild Card: Jawun Evans (OSU)
Oklahoma State: I think Jawun has won the point the last few weeks in a row. It’s hard to pick against him, but I’m going to. I’m going with Carroll. He is usually the offensive catalyst early in games, handling the majority of the scoring in the first half, before Evans takes over in the second. I think Carroll makes it a complete game today.
Michigan: I haven’t watched one minute of Michigan basketball this year, and if I did it was on accident. So I’m going to go with everything I’ve read about this team and pick their best player. I’m trying to win my own game here people.
Wild Card: All that stuff I said about Evans before? I think it holds true. Not enough to win the OSU point, but enough to make him the best option at Wild Card. He will put the team on his shoulders in the second half, and I believe, carry OSU to victory.
Opponent: David Noe
OSU: Phil Forte III | UM: Derrick Walton Jr. | Wild Card: Zak Irvin (Michigan)
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys have not won an NCAA tournament game since 2009, so they're hungry under first-year coach, Brad Underwood. Jawun Evans has been one of the most impressive players in the Big 12 this season averaging 19 points per game/44.1 FG% according to ESPN, so I have no doubt he will have another huge game. The 6’6 forward Jeffrey Carroll has been very impressive averaging 18 points in the last four games. Because I feel Evans and Carroll will come ready to win, I select Phil Forte III as the key player for the Cowboys. The 5-foot-11 guard has the school record for 3-pointers at 328 and has averaged 14 points in the last four games. His game-changing momentum and physical ability this season has impacted many games by running around the court and grabbing loose balls to make a quick run when down. He will be a deciding factor in the outcome depending on how much he contributes on both sides.
Michigan: Derrick Walton Jr. has become the true leader and MVP for the Wolverines. He averaged 20 points in the first three games of the Big Ten tournament, which included the emotional win Thursday against Illinois and a career-high 29 against Minnesota. He closed out the amazing weekend in Sunday's Big 10 Championship win over Wisconsin with 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds to earn him Most Outstanding Player honors. Oklahoma State likes to play a high scoring offense averaging 85.5 points per game and the top-rated offense efficiency according to Kenpom.com. If Walton Jr. can slow down the Cowboys’ offense with physical play, a handful of rebounds/turnovers and scoring close to his last four-game average, he could play a vital part in how this game ends.
Wild Card: Any Michigan fan knows what kind of player Zak Irvin is after watching him over the last few years. He did not perform to his ability with inconsistent performances throughout the regular season. However, the senior averaged 14.8 points over the last four wins and played a huge role in the overtime win against Purdue. Similar to Forte III for Oklahoma State, this game may come down to what Irvin can do and how much energy he can bring, because he's stepped it up late this season when the team needed him the most. A huge question is how much gas Michigan still has in the tank. Michigan averages 74.8 points per game compared to Oklahoma State’s 85.5 points per game. The Wolverines have kept their opponents to an average of 65.5 points per game according to teamrankings.com. Catch your breath after the first full day of madness in the tournament. I expect this to be one of those games that goes down to the wire to start the second day off with some excitement.