::Hops on soap box::
During the annual Big Ten postseason awards, the No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers were the first team in conference history to claim a share of the Big Ten title, and not have a player represented on either the first or second all-conference teams.
In such a deep league, with so many talented players, the Badgers have routinely done their winning this season with a buckshot approach to scoring and production.
One consistent threat for the Badgers though has been the Micah Potter. After the #FREEMICAHPOTTER movement went nowhere, the junior forward was relegated to missing the first 10 games of the season. During that span without Potter, the Badgers went 5-5, struggling with low-post help and offensively in general.
Potter saw his first game action against Milwaukee, and proceeded to be a vital cog in the rotation for the remainder of the season. Potter not only did his damage statistically for the Badgers, but was also an emotional spark often for a team battling through adversity.
Micah Potter on just having fun this season pic.twitter.com/RzaxBWEPcj— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) February 23, 2020
In his 20 games played this season, he has scored nine or more points in 14 games, including eight of his last nine games this year. While he did not play nearly as many games as some of the other candidates for Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year, he was rightfully deserving of the award.
Potter epitomizes the traits of a quality sixth man, starting only three games during the regular season, and scoring 10.3 points and hauling in 6.3 rebounds per game. The craziest part of his contributions though, are that he did it averaging only 18 minutes per game, the seventh most on the entire team.
On the contrary, the actual winner, Aaron Wiggins of Maryland, started over half of his teams games this year, and averaged 28.6 minutes per game, the third most on his team. A very talented guard, Wiggins used his extra 10 minutes on the court per game to average nearly identical scoring statistics at 10.4 points per game, and 4.9 rebounds. Wiggins also had the luxury of playing with two players — Jalen Smith (media and coaches) and Anthony Cowan Jr. (coaches) — who garnered first-team All-Conference honors.
While the playing time disparity obviously shifts these numbers drastically in a per/40 minute lens, the most eye popping differential between the two players was actually their efficiency. Micah Potter shot 53.3% from the field, 46.9% from three-point, and 85.7% from the free throw line, all numbers in the upper tier of the conference. Wiggins on the other hand: 37.7% from the field, 31.7% from three, and 71.7% from the charity stripe.
Aaron Wiggins is a very talented player, and was a player that ultimately should have been in consideration for the sixth-man award. However, on a team that did not have a representative on either the first or second team, Micah Potter was the most valuable sixth man in the conference. His addition to the team changed the Badgers entire outlook on the season, and eventually was a key factor in the turnaround that vaulted the Wisconsin into the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.
Micah Potter was the most deserving person for the sixth man award this season in the Big Ten Conference, bar none.
::Hops off soap box::
(UPDATE 3/9/20, 5:42 p.m. CT) Editor’s note: Here is a table I made comparing Potter and Wiggins.
6th Man of the Year Comparison
|Micah Potter||29.9||110.9||28.2||28.1||60.8||64.5||10.1||6.2||0.4||1||0.4||1.6||86 (37-43)||52.8||45.1 (23-51)|
|Aaron Wiggins||71.4 (LOL)||97.9||20.6||23.7||46.5||49||10.4||4.9||1.4||0.4||0.8||1.6||71.7 (43-60)||37.7||31.7 (53-167)|
|Per 40 Minutes|