Illini Wonk
Sunday, February 27, 2005
  Big Ten MVP?
With the Big Ten regular season title wrapped up, talk has now turned to which one of the three starting guards will be named conference player of the year.

Illini Wonk is relieved to not have to vote on this one, but is curious how you would. Leave your vote and reasoning in the comments section below. Also, on his blog, Mark Tupper is asking for feedback on his vote for some of the conference awards. If this is all too much work, you can simply fill in an oval and cast your vote at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Let Illini Wonk put one theory to rest: that being the possibility that the three guards could split up the Illinois share of the vote, thus giving the award to someone on another team. That can't happen. The race is between these three. There has yet to be a plausible case advanced for any other player in the conference.

In a previous post, Illini Wonk hinted at the race that was shaping up between Dee Brown, Luther Head and Deron Williams. Since then, several more pundits have weighed in and a few are undecided. In the Northwest Herald, Nick Pietruszkiewicz writes let's just give it to Williams. No Brown ... wait, maybe Head. Chad Dare's column in the Danville Commercial-News is headlined Illini's 3-headed monster deserves Big Ten MVP honor.

But most of the pundits are impressed with the recent play of Brown and are leaning his way.

Marlen Garcia writes in the Chicago Tribune that Illinois guard Dee Brown is building an airtight case to be named Big Ten player of the year. For Tupper in his Decatur Herald & Tribune column, Dee Brown is inching ahead. Vahe Gregorian says each [of the three guards] would make a deserving Big Ten player of the year, but Brown is the one who gives the Illini their zest and oomph and strut and, finally, their advantage. Not content to only bestow him with conference player of the year, Peoria Journal-Star Sports Editor Bill Liesse gives Brown the national MVP award and writes While there used to be three candidates, Brown has separated himself from teammates Williams and Head. Kedric Prince breaks down the three guards and says My vote this year will go to Dee Brown. (Prince also votes Bruce Weber conference coach of the year, Head and Williams on the first team and James Augustine on the second team of the Big Ten).

At, Pat Forde has the lone dissenting opinion (that Illini Wonk could find) and names Luther Head player of the year in the conference. Forde, in a nod to the Academy Awards, names the Illinois backcourt Ensemble of the Year.

UPDATE: Despite John "Brumby" Brumbaugh's initial leanings toward Head, he gives a statistical defense of why it should be Brown.
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