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Midseasonish All-Big Ten Awards and Such

The very official B5Q halfway through the season Big Ten men’s basketball awards.

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin Badgers have played 10 Big Ten conference games so far this year and now have 10 remaining. They sit at 7-3 and third in the conference behind the Iowa Hawkeyes and Michigan Wolverines. All things considered, the Badgers have had a very good season and will hopefully hit their stride in the back half of the conference season and enter March playing their basketball.

If you haven’t been paying close attention to the rest of the conference outside of the times that they are scheduled to play the Badgers, that’s ok! You’re busy and sometimes watching Illinois play Penn State at 8 p.m. CST isn’t on the top, or middle, or even bottom of your to-do list. Luckily you have us here at B5Q who pretty much never have anything better to do than watch those games!

Let’s take some of the knowledge we’ve gleaned from watching a bunch of Big Ten hoops and put it to good use by awarding some midseason Big Ten honors!

Big Ten Midseason Player of the Year

Luka Garza, C, Iowa

Garza leads the conference in scoring at 26.9 ppg and is third in rebounding at 8.9. He’s tied for third in the conference with 1.8 bpg and leads the conference in PER (player efficiency rating) at 42.3, which is 11 points better than the second place player. The difference between second and tenth is six points.

He is incredibly efficient with high usage and has even expanded his game so that he’s shooting 46.2% from three on 52 attempts. Not only is he the runaway favorite to win the conference’s best player award, he should probably also win the national player of the year award.

Also considered: Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois; Trayce Jackson-Davis, F/C, Indiana

Big Ten Midseason Freshman of the Year

Hunter Dickinson, C, Michigan

This, uh, was another easy selection. Dickinson has won basically every Big Ten Freshman of the Week award unless Michigan didn’t play a game that week. He is averaging 15.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.4 bpg and is No. 3 in the conference in PER. He is second in the conference with a field goal percentage of 68.8 and leads the conference in TS% (true shooting percentage) at 69.9%.

Before the Wolverines entire athletic department was put on a two week pause due to COVID-19 concerns, Dickinson was starting to struggle a bit as his last three games have been the only ones all season that he didn’t score in double digits and he averaged 4.0 turnovers per game while “only” shooting 8-of-15 from the field.

It’s a cynical view of things, but the two weeks off could be beneficial for a freshman like Dickinson who may have been hitting a bit of a wall.

Also considered: Adam Miller, G, Illinois; Andre Curbelo, G, Illinois

Big Ten Midseason Coach of the Year

Juwan Howard, Michigan

Before the season started most had the Wolverines pegged as a bubble team that would finish in the middle of a rugged Big Ten. That has not been the case and Big Ten leading Michigan looks like they’ll not only make the NCAA Tournament easily but will be competing for a top seed. Howard’s recruiting chops were evident early but he has also proven to be a good in-game coach and has assembled a staff that complements itself well.

Also considered: Chris Holtmann, Ohio State; Greg Gard, Wisconsin

Man, all three of these awards have been pretty cut and dry, lol.

Big Ten Midseason First Team (strict positions)

C - Luka Garza, Iowa
F - Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
F - Ron Harper, Jr., Rutgers
G - Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois
G - Marcus Carr, Minnesota

Big Ten Midseason Second Team (strict positions)

C - Kofi Cockburn, Illinois
F - Trevion Williams, Purdue
F - Franz Wagner, Michigan
G - Isaiah Livers, Michigan
G - D’Mitrik Trice, Wisconsin

Alright...this didn’t end up being as “strict” by position as I had wanted. There are a TON of good centers and power forward types in the Big Ten this year. For instance, all four of Garza, TJD, Cockburn and Williams are listed as centers all deserve to be on these teams. Hell, Dickinson probably deserves to be on these teams too but I just ran out of space. There also weren’t enough guards to fill out the roster so I’ve made a concession and allowed Livers to slot in as one on the second team.

So if I had to pick the 10 best players, regardless of position, here is that list:

Marcus Carr, G, Minnesota
Kofi Cockburn, C, Illinois
Hunter Dickinson, C, Michigan
Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois
Luka Garza, C, Iowa
Ron Harper, Jr., F, Rutgers
Trayce Jackson-Davis, C, Indiana
D’Mitrik Trice, G, Wisconsin
Franz Wagner, F, Michigan
Trevion Williams, C, Purdue

I’m not going to award a sixth man of the year because I don’t want to figure out who is the sixth man for each team. That sounds boring.