That’s Debatable is back for another year of expert opinions, ridiculous assertions and general know-it-all-itude. Remember, kids, there are no stupid answers, just stupid people. We’ll try to do one of these each week during the season. We’re fairly discerning around here, but if you want to be included, send us an email with your take telling us why at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week’s Topic: Unbelievably, we’re already halfway through the regular season. Who are your mid-season award winners for POY, COY and FrOY, and who is your surprise team for the second half of the season?
Brian Otskey, RTC contributor
I still have to go with Kemba Walker for POY at this point. The Connecticut guard just about single-handedly won the Maui Invitational for the Huskies and poured in 20+ points in every game from November 17 to December 31. Big East teams undoubtedly are going to defend him better but if the season ended today, he’s my choice. Staying in the Big East, my mid-season COY is Notre Dame’s Mike Brey. The Irish coach, now in his eleventh (!) year in South Bend, has made a contender out of a team picked to finish seventh in the league. Notre Dame has a great chance for a double-bye at MSG in March and has already knocked off Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Georgetown and Connecticut. Freshman of the year has to go to Jared Sullinger and it’s not even close. Sorry, I’m not taking Kyrie Irving who’s missed almost half of Duke’s games (through no fault of his own mind you). I just can’t do it. As for my sleeper, I’m with Seth Davis. Watch out for North Carolina in the second half. Provided they stay healthy, the Tar Heels will roll to second place in the down ACC and get back in the top 25 at some point.
Kellen Carpenter, RTC contributor
Half-way through and I feel like things have barely even started. That said, the season could last until May and I still doubt I would change my mind about Jared Sullinger. I just love watching him get crafty around the basket. He is a rare talent and the clear choice in my mind for Player of the Year, and I guess that means I have to give him Freshman of the Year too. Sorry, Kyrie: just bad luck. As for Coach of the Year, I’d give it to Steve Donahue. Though Boston College’s defense has gotten worse, he has supercharged the offense and when the players are rolling, it is a thing of terrifying and undeniable beauty. Seldom have I seen a team so completely and suddenly transformed. And for the second half of the season, I’d urge everyone to stay up a little bit later than usual and take in some Arizona games. Don’t let the loss to Oregon State fool you: This team is for real. Derrick Williams is a terrific player and I have a feeling that the Wildcats are going to be dangerously underestimated in March.
Matt Patton, RTC contributor
Player of the Year is totally up in the air, but right now I like Jon Leuer from Wisconsin. Without him the Badgers are a low-end Big 10 team with a good point guard (think Penn State with Talor Battle). With him they’re a sleeper contender and top 25 team. I think I’d give Coach of the Year to Mike Brey of Notre Dame with San Diego State’s Steve Fisher coming in a close second. I think Brey has taken a team with very little buzz to a place not many people outside South Bend were expecting. He’s done a terrific job getting the most out of his players so far, and after their win over Georgetown I think the Fighting Irish are for real. Freshman of the Year goes to Jared Sullinger. Kyrie Irving would have a shot if he wasn’t hurt, but with him sidelined and Terrence Jones’ recent struggles I think Sullinger is a no brainer. He makes Ohio State a truly elite team and is arguably the most polished interior force in college basketball.