Like it is for so many, March Madness is my Christmas. I wait all year for this amazing spectacle and it never disappoints. But before it ends, it is important to give credit where credit is due.
Player of the Year: Nolan Smith, Duke
The senior picked up an enormous amount of slack when star freshman Kyrie Irving went down with a foot injury, averaging 22 points and five assists a game.
Coach of the Year: Roy Williams, North Carolina
This was a tough call for me, as I feel Carolina should have been better all year, but credit must be given to Roy for righting the ship after a rocky start, and leading his team to catch Duke and win the ACC title
Player of the Year: tie- Jared Sullinger, Ohio St. and Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin
Sullinger seemed to be the obvious choice, but it is too hard to ignore the fact that Jordan Taylor threw his team on his back and has been a machine, averaging nearly 19 points and five assists a game. Sullinger has been everything – and more – Buckeye fans could have hoped for coming out of high school, leading the nationâ€™s top team with 17 points and 10 boards a game.
Coach of the Year: Matt Painter, Purdue
To be able to keep his team in the top 10 nationally without arguably his best player was a great feat. He also kept his team in the top two or three in a very tough conference.
Player of the Year: Marcus Morris, Kansas
Both Morris twins have been great for the Jayhawks this season, but Marcus has been slightly better overall, averaging 17 points and seven boards a game.
Coach of the Year: Bill Self, Kansas
Bill Self has done yet another outstanding job, finishing out the season 29-2 and winning the Big 12 yet again. This season has come with constant turmoil with players getting in trouble or being ineligible, but Self has held his team together quite nicely.
Player of the year: Ben Hansbrough, Notre Dame
Notre Dame was one of the biggest surprises in college basketball this season. Their senior leader and my pick for player of the year stepped his game up a great deal this season to lead the Irish to a second-place finish in the nationâ€™s toughest conference.
Coach of the year: Rick Pitino, Louisville
This could have gone to any of three coaches, but when you look at the situations for St. Johnâ€™s and Notre Dame, they were in slightly better shape to start the season than the Cards. Pitino took an injury-plagued team with no returning starters from last seasonâ€™s squad and molded a great team without any stars.
Player of the Year: Terrence Jones, Kentucky
While he clashed with his coach at times, UK relied on him big time to win most of their games this season. He is a freak-of-nature athlete who can play pretty much anywhere heâ€™s needed on the court. Jones has also been a double-double machine this year, averaging 18 points and more than nine rebounds a game.
Coach of the Year: Anthony Grant, Alabama
Rebounded nicely from a rocky nonconference start to have a 12-4 SEC record and nearly made it to the big dance.
Player of the Year: Derrick Williams, Arizona
A very solid player averaging 19 points and eight rebounds a game. As good as he may be, he is mostly the best player on the best team in a really bad conference
Coach of the Year: Sean Miller, Arizona
Much like Derrick Williams, Miller is the coach of the best team in a really bad conference
Player of the Year: Jimmer Fredette, BYU
Need I say more? He is simply The Jimmer. No one can ever question The Jimmer.
Coach of the Year: Rick Pitino, Louisville
See Big East coach of the year. Possibly his best coaching job ever.