Player of the Year — J.J. Redick, DukeJ.J. Redick is the definition of a true college basketball player.He may not have the best abilities on the floor and certainly won’t be the top pick in the next NBA Draft, but his passion and knowledge of the game stand out above the rest.And so, after four years of bleeding Blue Devil blue for Coach K and Duke, Redick ends his collegiate career on top.Sure, he would’ve preferred a national championship, but Player of the Year isn’t a bad alternative.Heading into this season, Redick sought to improve upon his All-American season from a year ago and had some tough competition along the way from Gonzaga’s Adam Morrison for the National Player of the Year award.The two battled all season long for the scoring title, and while Morrison ended up averaging more points at 28.1 to Redick’s 26.8, it must be remembered that Redick plays against tougher defensive teams in the ACC than Morrison does in the West Coast Conference. Also, Redick’s team was ranked No. 1 in the nation for most of the season.Then, of course, there are all the records Redick broke in 2005-06. He shattered the career scoring record (2,769 points) for Duke and the ACC, as well as the NCAA’s career 3-pointers record with 457 treys. Redick leaves behind a great legacy that will be remembered by college basketball fans everywhere.Coach of the Year — Roy Williams, North CarolinaAfter winning the 2005 national title and losing seven of its top scorers, UNC started this season absent from anyone’s top 25 — let alone receiving one single vote.However, Roy Williams — in just his third season in Chapel Hill — put the Tar Heels back on the map in spite of an extremely inexperienced roster.Led by freshman Tyler Hansbrough (see below) — as well as some veteran leadership from David Noel and Reyshawn Terry, members of last year’s championship team — the Tar Heels quickly established themselves among the nation’s best once again. They finished the season in the top 10 with a 28-8 record before bowing out of the NCAA tournament in the second round to unsuspecting George Mason (see below).But UNC’s highlight of the season was undoubtedly beating bitter rival Duke towards the latter end of the season.The Blue Devils were then ranked No. 1 in the nation, and the Tar Heels simply stole the show with an 83-76 upset victory before a national audience.Oh, and the game was at Duke, too. On Senior Night.Williams becomes just the second coach to win the AP Coach of the Year award at two different schools — Oklahoma State’s Eddie Sutton being the other — as he won it at Kansas in 1992.Freshman of the Year — Tyler Hansbrough, North CarolinaImagine stepping foot on the same campus Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Vince Carter and many more NBA players came out of and being expected to carry a team back to the NCAA tournament — and it’s just your freshman year.Forget the learning curve; Hansbrough came in and dominated right away, averaging 18.9 points and 7.8 rebounds, and became a unanimous selection to the ACC’s all-conference first team — something none of the Tar Heels’ impressive alumni ever accomplished as freshmen.But it wasn’t the numbers Hansbrough put up — such as his 40-point outburst over Georgia Tech — that were impressive, but how and when he did it.For instance, Hansbrough led the Heels to victory in quite possibly the biggest game of his young career versus Duke with a 27-point, 10-rebound performance.His polished post game and his size (6-foot-9, 235 pounds) lead many to believe he would declare for the NBA Draft following such an impressive freshman campaign, but he recently announced he will be returning for his sophomore season.And as he returns next year, many will speculate if this season’s Freshman of the Year can become next season’s Player of the Year.Biggest Disappointment — Michigan StateA coach who has made four Final Four appearances in the past seven years — one of which ended with national championship — usually doesn’t face much criticism, if any at all.Not the case for Michigan State’s Tom Izzo this year.Granted, expectations were high for the Spartans this season, having much of last year’s Final Four team still intact, but they did little to even try living up to them.Michigan State’s disappointing season all started with its first game — losing to unranked Hawai’i in the season opener — and endured a roller coaster year from there.There were some big wins over Arizona, Boston College and some of the Big Ten’s best, but the team ultimately slipped, losing five of its seven final conference games before becoming a victim to George Mason’s historic run in the first round.For a team with such great talent, to end the season without a ranking, seventh in the Big Ten and a first-round loss is just downright pathetic.If he isn’t already, Paul Davis is crying somewhere in East Lansing.Biggest Upset — George MasonThe tournament’s biggest upset this year came from George Mason.The second? George Mason.The third? Yeah … you get the point. Not to discredit Bradley’s Cinderella run, but the No.11-ranked Patriots’ colonial march to the Final Four busted everyone’s bracket. That is, unless you mistakenly picked them, thinking they were actually George Washington or Georgetown.But it wasn’t just that George Mason made it to the Final Four; it was the teams they defeated on its way there that was impressive. Aside from Wichita State (no offense to the Shockers — they, too, were a difficult matchup and will be a mid-major Missouri Valley Conference team to be reckoned with in the coming years), the Patriots played arguably the nation’s toughest teams in the first two rounds — Michigan State and North Carolina. Both were Final Four teams last year with the talent and the potential to do it again.However, the Spartans and Tar Heels became victims to George Mason’s historic run, as the Patriots went on to tie the 1986 LSU Tigers as the lowest-seeded team to make the Final Four.And to be honest, the Patriots’ story was the most exciting in what turned out to be one of the most boring Final Four events ever.
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