Cassius Winston - Big Ten MVP?

Cassius Winston - Big Ten MVP?

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Cassius Winston - Big Ten MVP?

Spartans’ floor general an afterthought for conference honors – is Winston really a 3rd Team All Big Ten Player??

This past Tuesday, the Big Ten unveiled its Men’s Basketball postseason All Conference teams.

Michigan State’s Cassius Winston was elected to the conference’s 3rd team by both the coaches and by the media.

This may be the conference’s biggest 1st team snub since it left Joe Barry Carrol off the top list in 1977.

But let’s not stop there.

An argument could even be made that Winston was the best player in the Big Ten this year.

You don’t believe me?

Consider that Winston is the conference champion’s most-clutch player. During Michigan State’s conference championship stretch run, Winston took the team over by delivering clutch play after clutch play in late 2nd half comeback February victories over Northwestern (after being 27 points down), Wisconsin, Purdue, and Iowa.

The man finished the season by connecting on 16 of his last 20 three pointers.

Go ahead and read that again.

And most of those shots were delivered when MSU absolutely had to have them the most in the late stages of some white-knuckle games.

He’s also Michigan State’s most consistent player.

Cassius didn’t simply deliver in February, he’s been shooting at a high level all season.

Please note that he finished the regular season going for 54/57/88. That’s 54% field goals, 57% three-pointers, and 88% from the line.

His field goal percentage ranks 2nd only among point guards to Loyola (Chi)’s stellar Clayton Custer.

He leads the country in three-point FG% (and it’s not close).

And he’s nearly a lock at the line. To put his 54/57/88 clip into some perspective, consider that only seven NBA players in league history have ever reached the 50/40/90 threshold.

But enough about shooting.

A point guard needs to be able to set up his teammates in places where they can get busy scoring.

Cassius ranks in the top ten nationally in assists.

There’s not another B1 player who ranks in the top 50.

Tom Izzo feels that Winston might be MSU’s best passer since a guy named Magic Johnson.

Considering that Izzo has coached the likes of Scott Skiles, Mark Montgomery, Eric Snow, Mateen Cleaves, Marcus Taylor, Drew Neitzel, and Kalin Lucas, that’s heady praise.

And while he won’t be confused with Gary Payton any time soon, Cassius has improved significantly on the defensive side of the ball, so much so that Tom Izzo entrusted him to play against Wisconsin’s red-hot Brad Davison in the last two minutes of Sunday’s game. Davison finished with 30 points, none of those points coming with Winston on his hip.

So if he should be 1st team All Big Ten, who should he replace?

Carsen Edwards certainly had a great year and was a great scorer and leader for Purdue. But he’s wilted late in some key losses and he’s not going to put the dagger in you like Cassius.

Nebraska wouldn’t be near its 8th NCAA appearance without James Palmer, but his offensive efficiency is no where near the MSU point guard.

I’d even bump Miles Bridges from that first tier if it meant putting Winstonwhere he belongs. I don’t think there’s any question that Cassius has been more valuable to MSU this year than Bridges.

And based on his performance this year, he could be the conference’s MVP as well.

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