National media discussion on conference races and National Player of the Year

With New Year’s comes conference season and therefore a bunch of evaluation and re-evaluation by national media members about their thoughts on conference races. Since there isn’t much more immediately pressing news on the horizon, here are links to a few of them for your amusement/edification/ire/fuel for conspiracy theory.

ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan says Indiana has shown some warts, but should still be considered the Big Ten favorite over Michigan. He does suggest that Michigan’s Trey Burke is now the favorite for conference player of the year, however.

In Jason King’s Kings Court column on, he suggests that Minnesota and Trevor Mbakwe have the best chance to unseat Indiana in the Big Ten.

CBS’s Jeff Goodman ranks Indiana behind Michigan in the Big Ten and says that Burke is ahead of Cody Zeller for Big Ten POY honors. Also says Jordan Hulls is the best shooter in the country.

Ken Pomeroy ran 10,000 statistical simulations on each conference to determine who had the best chance of winning each. Indiana won in 5,489 of the 10,000 run on the Big Ten. Michigan actually came in fourth in those simulations, winning 1,065 times. Duke was the most overwhelming favorite in any conference, winning 8,797 of the 10,000 simulations run in the ACC. (Epic nerd stuff, I know.)

Pomeroy also began his national player of the year board, which statistically takes into account things that are beyond my level of understanding. Currently, he ranks Cody Zeller as the No. 3 player in the nation beghind Duke’s Mason Plumlee and Louisville’s Russ Smith.

CBSSports, meanwhile, has Zeller ranked ninth on its Player of the Year list. It also ranks Plumlee No. 1 followed by Creighton’s Doug McDermott and Michigan’s Trey Burke.


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  • Geoff says:

    I wonder if Jason King would bet me $1000 on who finishes higher – Minnesota or Michigan…

    I love having Cody in candy stripes, but I can’t take any writer seriously who has Zeller ahead of Dipo for any type of award or recognition. That being said, I have absolutely no problem with naming Burke the mid-season B1G POY.

  • Aruss says:

    WHOA – after seeing Purdue beat Illinois, I’m starting to appreciate our win at Iowa more. B1G road games are no joke.

  • Hoosier Clarion says:

    Is Illinois a paper lion or did the PUke W happen because of Mackey?

  • Southport65 says:

    Plumlee plays 5-6 minutes more a game than the others including VIc and Cody because Duke has a weak bench that will cause them trouble down the road. Give Vic or Cody those extra minutes and they would have numbers better than Plumlee. IU is the most talented and deep team in the country. HC it will be hard to win on the road anywhere in the Big Ten this year as we saw the worst team in the conference just win at home.

  • Larry says:

    No offense to anyone here, but, I wonder how long some have been around Big10 basketball? The Purdue W is simply a home win for them. Let the season progress a bit more whether we decide if Purdue is a powerhouse or not.

    This is going to happen to every ranked Big10 team this year…lose a few on the road. It’s the team that can minimize road losses that comes out on top….OUR HOOSIERS, already with a W in a facility that produces difficulties for every Big10 team every year.

  • Dan says:

    I’ve been avidly watching B1G Basketball for over 20 years. From a top-to-bottom standpoint its almost always the toughest league in the nation, and this year is probably the best I’ve ever seen the overall conference.

    Out of the 12, Purdue, Penn State, and Nebraska are the only teams that aren’t “tournament level” and they’re all just beneath that (not saying everyone else makes the tournament, but they probably deserve to). This will be a brutal season. Should be GREAT to watch. Every team in the league is going to be tough in their own buildings. The @Iowa win is a great-great start for IU.

    I have no problem with Zeller being ranked above Oladipo (or vice versa), they’re both great players, as are several of our guys. Player-of-the-year races are just that, “player of the YEAR”, its about stats and numbers and luck and that’s fine. It’s not really about “whose actually the best”, it shouldn’t be conflated with that and its not worth getting excited about.

  • Geoff says:

    Dan, not that you were talking to me specifically, but I’ll address your last sentence… I won’t ever get too excited about what a writer puts out there, but I will discount them if I sense they aren’t paying attention.

    Why should I bother to read or care about a writer’s opinion on other IU topics if he doesn’t watch enough IU basketball to understand something as simple as who has been IU’s most impactful player this season… If you continue to rate Zeller ahead of Dipo on any awards list then you aren’t paying attention, and you’re simply writing his name further down the list because you don’t want to drop him off it. It’s not like Zeller is playing poorly, but he is nowhere near national POY level to this point. Maybe that changes, maybe he just continues to play well and be a force… But if you watch very IU game and come away thinking that Zeller has been better to this point than Dipo then I am not going to pay attention to anything else that comes out of your pen on the topic of IU basketball.

  • Chet says:

    It’s much harder to be recognized as POY if you’re playing on a very good team, with 4 starters averaging in double figures and you have ten players earning quality minutes.

    Put Cody on a crappy team and he might run away with the award.

  • Laffy says:

    I think Cody’s stock fell not because “we have so many great players around him” but because he looked like a girl against Butler.

    And, he hasn’t shown us the outside shot he worked on all summer.

    I doubt anyone outside of rabid IU fans would say he’s improved since last year.

  • Podunker says:

    I don’t believe Cody Zeller cares about any individual awards/honors/recognition. I think he’s all about team, and doing what he can to help his team be successful. Oh sure, he’s probably flattered, like everybody else, when he is recognized for his performance, but does he covet such individual honors? I doubt it. Does he modify his behavior because he might have the opportunity to receive honors/awards? Apparently not! If that POY honor was important to him, I think you’d see Zeller behaving differently (i.e., more selfishly) on the court.

    Would any of us trade the POY award for being a part of the NCAA Championship team? I wouldn’t, and I don’t think Zeller would either.

  • The Festrunk Brothers says:

    For me Cody is POY so far.

    His team did not lose a single game with him on the court.

    If Crean plays him we will win.

  • Laffy says:

    I don’t think he covets the award either.

    I think he wants to go as high in teh draft as possible, though.

    And if he doesn’t show more toughness and/or an outside shot, I think he’s gonna drop out of the lottery.

    The draft is weak this year so maybe it won’t matter that much.

    And how is playing tougher “selfish”? That’s just stupid.

    And last I checked, he’s the one that said over and over, “I worked on my outside shot because the TEAM needs it.”

    So, where is it to help the TEAM?

  • Geoff says:

    Po – I agree 100% with that as well…

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    Do you think it’s purely athleticism that puts a player like Cody at the top of POY list..especially at the initial start of the season?

    Is their a possibility that character and importance to the team is playing(pun intended)into the voting?

    Cody has never been an explosive player..He’s never going to dominate in the NBA.

    So what is he? It all depends on what the definition of is, is(thank you, Bill Clinton)..

    What he is is the most important recruit to come to Indiana in 30 years..

    What he is is…reliable, crafty, heady, symbolic, skilled with the ball, and very, very, tall.

    What he is is…the reason Tom Crean can have his job for another 10 years.

    Will that get him POY. No. Does it make him deserving of the hype initially? I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt since it sure beats listening to Geoff and the Establishment while we would sit in the cellar of the Big 10 for the next 10 years.

    Actually, there would be no Geoff on the Scoop blog if we were in the cellar. There would only be Downing and Husky Tom and a photo doctoring mystery man some believe to be an actual invisible man. …and maybe JPat.

    So, thank you, Cody. Thank you for coming to IU and allowing Geoff to be Hoosier Scoop’s ‘BOY’…a.k.a ‘Blogger of the Year.’

  • Punjab says:

    National media types don’t have the luxury of breaking down every minute detail of every IU game like we do. They have to cover the entire country. So it’s understandable how Cody gets the nod for POY from some– he had more preseason press than anyone, and from a purely numbers standpoint he tends to look better on paper than Oladipo.

    But Vic has made more impactful plays at critical times and does more stuff that won’t necessarily show up on a stat sheet.

    At this point in the season, I call it a toss up. Call Cody the best player, and Vic the MVP. Or vice versa. I won’t argue with you, either way, I’m just glad we have them both.

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    I vote Hulls as PHOOEY!(Playa’ HOOsier of Every Year!) because he had to endure VJ and Jeremiah Rivers being treated like the real “stars” of a crappy team simply because Crean found VJ behind a trash can as an abandoned baby and Jeremiah behind the glory of his 5-star brother that would always go to Duke before Indiana.

    No wonder the kid looks Grumpy. He gets only bad press yet he’s the soul of Indiana. He came for the glory to only slip those beautiful candy-stripes onto his thighs.

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    Jordy buries big shot after big shot his entire career with zero national spotlight and Seth Davis finds an a$$hole to throw a beer at his face.

    He goes blank in a scoring column for the first time since the 3rd grade and suddenly he’s the anti-Christ…and we here more garbage about how our team would be so horribly lost without “Three fingers to the Temple” and Crean’s Hola-D-Wade-Dipo.

  • Geoff says:

    Cool… So now I’m a fair weather fan… Add it to the list of things I’ve been called by Harvard.

    So it’s not ok for the Establishment (who dont have ties to IU) to take swings at Hulls, but it’s fine for you to take 7th grade level pot shots at Sheehey and Dipo?

  • Geoff says:

    It’s easy to see why Cody got so much pre-season hype… Not only was he the best player on the best team heading not the season, but he is extremely skilled for his size, athletic for his size, has a high basketball IQ, and he’s a great kid who is easy to root for.

    I still think he has all the potential to be a top POY candidate at the end of the year… He just hasn’t shown that to me yet. What he has done is play well enough for IU to win 13 games, and poorly enough for them to lose 1. He is a great player. If he sticks around for 4 years he’ll be an absolute legend. He is the most skilled big man I’ve ever watched in a Hoosier uniform… He is also a tad frustrating for me this year because I don’t believe he is playing up to his potential. I would like him to play physically tougher.

    I don’t really care if he ever wins an award (except that I would like that for him personally), nor do I really care what his NBA stock is (although I would like to see all kids live out their dreams and be successful if they work hard towards it)… I just care that he helps IU win basketball games. Luckily that aligns with what Cody cares most about as well (I choose to believe).

  • Larry says:

    Still needs that quick turnaround jumper from 10-12 ft from the hoop!!! Kirk Hastings had that his last year, even hitting a game winning 3 vs No1 Michigan State his last year.

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    “He is the most skilled big man I’ve ever watched in a Hoosier uniform…?”

    You need to talk to papa or do a little research.

    We all choose to believe…I believed in happenstance getting Remy on the floor last year.

    I believe Cody is taking too much crap. He’s 10 games into his second season. He was damn sick(and that sickness likely lingered for a month)and not himself for a stretch of games. Let the wine mature before you turn everything from Indiana to corn cider simply because you want to claim your Massachusetts hero, Hola-D-Wade-Dipo the “star” of the team.

    Zeller is tough as nails. His demeanor and poise is unparalleled. He quietly sinks his will on the game. You don’t have to be demonstrative or a showboat to be a tough kid.

    You jumped on the Establishment bandwagon with purposeful microscopic examination and labels of softness. It’s what you bonfire builders do…Build up and burn down.

  • Punjab says:

    Call me selfish, but I don’t mind CZ’s stock dropping. Winning National– even B1G– POY honors only increases the odds he goes pro. Unfortunately, I think the only way he stays right now is if we somehow falter down the stretch and he gets hungry for another shot at the title. (For which we’d probably be the odds on favorite, again, next year)

    IU is doing just fine with a balanced attack,, so everyone screaming that he needs to demand the ball more must not be paying attention to our overall offensive numbers. Am I missing something?

  • Geoff says:

    You are the only one that reads what I write and comes to that conclusion Harvard…

    The more concerning issue is your Jekyll and Hyde within the same post. First you belittle my praise of Cody, then you go on to heap praise him yourself. Damn you’re weird.

    I believe Cody is a very tough kid. Never said he wasn’t. I said, very clearly, that I wish he played physically tougher. I believe that he is mentally very tough. I agree that he has a great will. But per usual, you will put words in my mouth and paint me as having a different opinion and motive than I do…

    How would doing research or talking to my papa change who I have watched in my 37 years of life? I didn’t say he was the best ever… I said he is the most skilled I’ve watched. He is better than Haston, and Jefferies, and Garrett, and White, and Henderson… I’m not sure who else you could even put in the conversation. Talking to my papa won’t change that.

  • Geoff says:


    I don’t see many people (at least in here) screaming that he needs to demand the ball more… And I’m pretty sure I read every comment. The only criticism there is that he wasn’t demanding enough down the stretch in the Butler game as their top 3 bigs we’re fouling out… It was a circumstantial criticism. The main criticisms (at least in here) are that he hasn’t added much to his repertoire and he’s gotten pushed around too much.

    You’re absolutely right that a balanced attack is best for our team.

  • Geoff says:

    I guess you could put Landon Turner in the conversation… But I really don’t remember him all that well.. Since I was 6.

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