The Big Ten released its weekly award winners for week 12 of the regular season on Monday and three teams ended up splitting the awards. Minnesota’s Jordan Murphy and Michigan State’s Cassius Winston were named Co-Big Ten Players of the Week and Michigan’s Ignas Brazdeikis was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week. In a big week for the league, these three stood out.
Entering this season, Murphy was viewed as one of the best big men in the league and as a potential difference maker for the Gophers upfront. During last season, he averaged an impressive 16.8 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.
And that success has carried over into this season. Murphy has been fantastic for Minnesota and came up huge this week. He averaged 19 points, 11 rebounds, 3.5 assists as the Gophers narrowly fell on the road against Michigan and beat Iowa at home. This is his fifth Big Ten Player of the Week honor of his career and first this season.
Similarly, Winston was viewed as one of the league’s best players and a key factor for a Michigan State team that many thought projected to be the best group in the league entering this season. However, Winston had shown some consistency on the defensive end of the floor and needed to improve at avoiding turnovers. Spartan fans were hoping he could improve in those areas.
And Winston has lived up to the hype so far this season and had a huge performance last week. In fact, he averaged 20 points, 7.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds as Michigan State beat Maryland and Iowa and fell on the road to Purdue on Sunday. This is the fourth time he’s been named Big Ten Player of the Week during his career.
Brazdeikis also continues to impress for the Wolverines. He entered this season with a decent amount of hype and has managed to exceed those expectations. And this week, he had another huge performance, averaging 19 points and nine rebounds as Michigan beat Minnesota at home and Indiana on the road. This is the fourth time that Brazdeikis has earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.
All told, it was a big week for the Big Ten and these two teams. It will be exciting to watch Murphy, Winston, and Brazdeikis as the season continues to unfold.