In defense of Oladipo as Big Ten Player of the Year

There is no wrong choice for Big Ten Player of the Year this season. Trey Burke. Victor Oladipo. Deshaun Thomas. I’m not going to argue against any of those names. Having said that, Oladipo is my selection – even though Burke took home the honor.

Why Oladipo? Easy: He was the best player on the best team and the best all-around player in the league. Also, he helped lead the Hoosiers to their first outright Big Ten crown since 1993. Yes, this is the player of the year, not the most valuable player, but eight of the last 13 winners (since 2000) had played for a team that won at least a share of the title.

[ RELATED: View’s 2012-13 All-Big Ten teams ]

Winning means something when it comes to this award, and it should. Plus, Oladipo was as important as any player in lifting the Hoosiers to the top of the Big Ten.

The junior shot 57 percent (!) and averaged 13.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, two assists, two steals and .8 blocks in Big Ten play. He was even better in Indiana’s biggest games, shooting 59.8 percent (!) and averaging 17.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2.4 steals and one block in eight games against ranked foes. Not surprisingly, the Hoosiers went 7-1 in those games.

Victor OladipoMost importantly, perhaps, Oladipo was 2-0 against Burke. That’s no indictment on Burke, either, as he was solid in the two losses, field-goal percentage and turnovers aside (36 percent, 22.5 ppg, 4 rpg, 6 apg, 2.5 spg, 3.5 tpg).

On the topic of records, Oladipo and Indiana went 5-2 against the Big Ten’s other title contenders; Burke and Michigan went 2-5.

Again, winning should matter.

For example, let’s say the coach of the year came down to two worthy candidates – shouldn’t head-to-head results be taken into account? Especially when one was 2-0 against the other?

I’d say so.

Is Oladipo the scorer Burke, or even Thomas, is? Of course not. Is Oladipo the distributor Burke is? Ha, it’s not even close. At the same time, Oladipo is equally superior to Burke when it comes to efficiency, rebounding and defense.

Basketball isn’t all about offense. As out-of-this-world as Burke’s season was, Oladipo was one of the league’s most dynamic players on both sides of the floor.

Let’s not forget, Oladipo’s 13.7 points per game ranked 11th in the Big Ten. And this was a guy who averaged just 8.4 attempts per game, compared to Burke’s 14.2. At Oladipo’s 61-percent clip for the season, who knows what he would average if he hoisted 14 shots per game. For the record, I’m aware more shots would likely impact his efficiency.

Anyway, for the curious people out there, that’s why Oladipo is my selection.

About Brent Yarina web editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (10 Comments)
Doug on 3/11/2013 @ 12:28pm EDT Said:

It’s simple: Burke has to shoot 20 + times to score 20 points and shoots a ton of crazy shots, Oladipo is more under control. They both play great defense, but alas, IU swept M and finished in first, while Michigan finished in fifth. I bet Oladipo would have nailed that one and one at the end of the game, while Burke totally bricked it.

carlos eduardo on 3/11/2013 @ 2:32pm EDT Said:

Seems to me that a player of the year award should be pretty much totally about the player, and very little about the team. Burke is a far better player than Oladipo. He almost singlehandedly had Michigan within an eyelash of a share of the B10 crown. Minus his contribution, Indiana wins by 10-12 yesterday. Oladipo is the defensive player of the year. Trey Burke will be the first NBA lottery pick.

Don Alexander on 3/11/2013 @ 2:40pm EDT Said:

The best all around player in the league in my opinion is Oladipo and yes I am an IU fan; however, when you consider scoring, assists, rebounds, blocks, and DEFENSE and then compare IU wins both games against Michigan I think Oladipo gets the nod – Burke, Thomas, and Zeller should also get strong support. Oladipo is just as valuable to IU as Burke and Thomas are to their respective teams. To the victors belong the spoils.

Doug on 3/11/2013 @ 3:43pm EDT Said:

Hey Carlos, the heisman is the same way, goes to best player on best team, not necessarily the best player, and Michigan by far isn’t the best team, so Oladipo gets it.

DocNok on 3/11/2013 @ 6:55pm EDT Said:

It’s a no-brainer! Victor

AD on 3/11/2013 @ 7:59pm EDT Said:

The best players lead their teams to victories in the biggest games as Victor has routinely all year. Big players don’t need the ball on every possession to influence the game, again as Victor did. Trey Burke got owned by Craft and Oledepo twice. His team was 2-4 against the 3 best teams in the league, he choked at the line with the B1g ten title on the line, and shot 7-20 with 4 turnovers in the biggest game of the year. That’s not what a player of the year does. He’s a very good player no doubt, but he’s the 4th best player in the league.

jeremy on 3/11/2013 @ 10:21pm EDT Said:

Stop hating on my lil brother and just say congratulations

jeremy on 3/11/2013 @ 10:23pm EDT Said:

And as for the heisman how did RG3 win it because he sure wasn’t on the best team

Jared Beamer (@JaredBeamer) on 3/11/2013 @ 11:50pm EDT Said:

If I were an opposing player, I would rather have Burke guard me than Oladipo. Likewise, I would rather have to guard Burke than Oladipo. Victor is the whole package, and has the results to prove it.

Joe Smith on 3/13/2013 @ 5:08pm EDT Said:

Are you kidding me? Oladipo is the most overrated B1G player that I can remember. What a stiff.