2nd to last AP Ballot this year, plus All America Team

The madness is among us, and thank goodness.  The NFL labor talks have me chewing glass wondering if we’ll have a season to cover, or just meetings in DC for the next eight months. So thank you college basketball, and all your flaws.

Despite problems with big time basketball like the inconsistent NCAA regulations, one and done kids leaving the game diluted, and referees actually getting worse, the sport continues to deliver.

Arkansas Little Rock, as one of only two games on nationwide, lived a lifetime moment when Soloman Bozeman drained a daring game winning 3. You don’t have to know UALR or Bozeman to love that moment too.

My wife heard me screaming at that moment, wondering how I had just injured myself. She must have forgotten it’s March.

My 2nd to last ballot has Ohio State firmly at the top. I will be stunned if the Buckeyes fail to make the Final Four.

Also included here are my coach of the year, player of the year, and All America teams.

Steve Lavin took over a program at St. John’s that hadn’t been relevant since Marc Jackson and Chris Mullen ruled New York, earning 21 wins in the regular season that included 9 against teams ranked in the top 15. Getting kids to believe they can win when winning was such a foreign concept is for me the greatest measure of a coach. Others will vote for Thad Matta or Mike Krzyzewski because of continued excellence. And that’s fine, but so tremendously exceeding expectations, doing what so many others failed to do at Madison Square Garden, that earns my vote.

The player of the year comes from the same conference. Connecticut’s Kemba Walker carried so often a team that could have fallen apart under the weight of its coach’s NCAA problems and health problems. Instead, against the best conference in the land, Walker dominated. Sure he had a mid season stretch of mere mortal play. But aside from monster stats, he loves having the ball at the end of the game and delivers.

I put Maryland’s Jordan Williams as a 2nd team All American. The nation’s 3rd leading rebounder also averaged 17 points a game plus a block and a half. Imagine what he might do with a back court that occasionally made a jump shot.

1. Ohio State
2. Kansas
3. Pittsburgh
4. Notre Dame
5. San Diego State
6. Duke
7. Purdue
8. North Carolina
9. Louisville
10. BYU
11. Syracuse
12. Texas
13. Arizona
14. Florida
15. Wisconsin
16. St. John’s
17. Xavier
18. Utah State
19. Kentucky
20. Kansas State
21. Cincinnati
22. West Vriginia
23. Texas A&M
24. Temple
25. Georgetown

Player of the Year: Kemba Walker

Coach of the Year: Steve Lavin

1st Team

Jared Sullinger (OSU)
Jimmer Fredette (BYU)
Kemba Walker (CON)
Jajuan Johnson (PUR)
Nolan Smith (DUK)

2nd Team
Jordan Williams (MD)
Andrew Goudelock (COC)
Marshon Brooks (PROV)
Jon Leuer (WIS)
Kawhi Leonard (SDSU)

3rd Team
Talor Battle  (PSU)
Alec Burks  (COL)
Derrick Williams (ARI)
E’Twaun Moore (PUR)
Jacob Pullen (KSU)

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