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Zavier Simpson, Ignas Brazdeikis earn Big Ten honors

The Wolverines top two players received Big Ten honors Monday.

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan Wolverines have had a great season up to this point. Starting the season 17-0 and finishing third in the Big Ten, only one game behind first, was certainly not an easy task with the talented field they faced in conference this season.

Monday, the starters for the Wolverines were all recognized by the conference as some of the top players in the Big Ten — specifically junior point guard Zavier Simpson and freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis.

Brazdeikis was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman team and to the All-Big Ten second team.

Meanwhile, Simpson was named to the All-Big Ten second team and the All-Big Ten defensive team.

As the leading scorer of the Wolverines, Brazdeikis was often the catalyst for this offense. He was also the most consistent scoring threat, averaging 15 points per game.

Brazdeikis was the energy bunny this offense needed at times, he had the capability to drain it from deep, shooting 41.7 percent from behind the arc. He could also drive to the key and finish with either hand.

There is no doubt Iggy deserved recognition from the conference for his play this season. He is the seventh Wolverine all-time to win this prestigious award.

Meanwhile, Simpson has had quite the season, which included the sixth triple-double in Michigan basketball history. Simpson finished second in the conference in assists, averaging 6.3 per contest. He also was fourth in steals, swiping 1.5 per game.

Simpson also developed a dazzling hook shot that shocked media and fans alike and earned him his Captain Hook nickname. Without Simpson’s leadership on the court, the Michigan offense looked lost and the defense was less efficient. In fact, Simpson finished second in the conference in defensive win shares at 2.6.

These two were the only players that achieved Big Ten honors, but the remaining starters — Jon Teske, Jordan Poole and Charles Matthews — all received honorable mention. This was the first time in 35 years five Wolverines were awarded Big Ten honors.

With a great season from the Wolverines behind us, Michigan now turns to the postseason looking for another run in both the Big Ten and the NCAA Tournament. That all tips off on Friday when Michigan hits the court against Northwestern, Iowa or Illinois, depending how the bracket shakes out.