White unanimous selection for Big Ten Player of the Year

Zach Eisendrath

The Big Ten’s top four teams – No. 8 Wisconsin, No. 17 Purdue, No. 22 Indiana and No. 19 Michigan State – are all set to make it into the NCAA tournament.

According to ESPN.com bracketologist Joe Lundari, Ohio State could be the fifth and final team from the conference to receive an at-large bid.

After picking up two signature wins this week by beating the Boilermakers and Spartans in Columbus, the Buckeyes are back on the cusp of tournament consideration. Many believe a win by Thad Matta’s squad in Friday’s rematch game with Michigan State would be enough to punch OSU a ticket to the Big Dance.

The “bubble” ends with the Buckeyes, though.

By losing their final two regular season games, Minnesota dropped below .500 in conference play; and with a poor rating percentage index and strength of schedule, the Gophers won’t be playing in the NCAA tournament unless they win four games in four days in Indianapolis this weekend.

Minnesota Daily Big Ten award picks

Player of the Year

Indiana senior forward D. J. White:

White has been the glue that has held things together for the Hoosiers, despite a tumultuous season.

The senior forward has been Mr. Consistent from day one, averaging 17.1 points and 10.3 rebounds.

Defensive Player of the Year

Sophomore guard Chris Kramer:

A lockdown defender on arguably the most aggressive defensive team in the conference, Kramer’s tenacity – which has carried over to his teammates’ play – helps him win this award.

Not to mention, the sophomore guard averages a league-high 2.2 steals per game.

Freshman of the year

Indiana freshman shooting guard Eric Gordon:

A likely lottery pick in June’s NBA Draft, Gordon is averaging a league-leading 21.5 points per game.

Gordon is so heralded that Miami Heat coach Pat Riley – in the middle of the season – decided to hop on an airplane and watch the freshman standout in person on Sunday.

Coach of the Year

Purdue coach Matt Painter:

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan has surprised many by responding to the loss of leading scorer Alando Tucker with the Badgers’ first outright Big Ten title since 2003. And certainly Penn State coach Ed DeChellis deserves some consideration here for keeping the Lions’ morale up once leading-scorer Geary Claxton was lost for the season.

But Painter wins this one for his ability to coach a group of predominately freshmen and sophomores into legitimate Big Ten contenders. The Boilermakers are also the only team to sweep Big Ten Champion Wisconsin.

First-team All-Big Ten

G – Trevon Hughes, Wisconsin

G – Eric Gordon, Indiana

C – Brian Butch, Wisconsin

F – D.J. White , Indiana

G/F – E’Twaun Moore, Purdue

Honorable mention

Ohio State senior guard Jamar Butler and Michigan freshman guard Manny Harris.