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The biggest downside to watching Villanova bask in the afterglow of last Monday’s domination of Michigan in the national championship game was pondering the empty months ahead. The Wildcats, like every other team, won’t play meaningful basketball again until November. Before fretting too much over that long wait, it’s worth reflecting on some of the highlights and lowlights of the 2017–18 season that was—the players, teams, coaches and games that left strong impressions—by handing out awards. While most of these categories are totally made up, some of them will be familiar. All of the honorees are deserving, but we aimed to limit the number of repeat winners.To get more basketball news, you can visit shine news official website.

In the national championship game, Brunson connected on only four of his 13 shot attempts and sat out a large portion of the second half after picking up his fourth foul. That the Wildcats still managed to run Michigan—a team riding a 14-game winning streak and boasting the No. 3 defense in the country, according to Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted efficiency metric—off the floor is a testament to the power of the offense fueled all season long by its junior point guard’s efficient scoring and deft playmaking. Here’s a simple way to sum up his POY candidacy: 2017–18 Villanova will be remembered as one of the best squads since the turn of the century, and Brunson was its best player. Brownell seemed on shaky ground entering the fall.

Clemson had failed to reach the NCAA tournament in six consecutive years, and the buyout on his contract was lowered after the Tigers finished 2016–17 with a 6–12 mark in the ACC and a home loss to Oakland in the first round of the NIT. The Tigers’ decision to bring him back for 2017–18 paid off handsomely. After being picked to finish 13th in the ACC’s preseason poll, Clemson went on to win 11 games in conference play (fewer than only Virginia and Duke), earned a No. 5 seed in the tourney and reached the Sweet 16 by handling a solid New Mexico State team in the first round and whipping No. 4 seed Auburn in the second.

Not even the loss of senior frontcourt cog Donte Grantham to an ACL tear in January could derail Brownell’s remarkable turnaround. It didn’t take long for Texas Tech to serve notice that it will be a legitimate force in the Big 12 under head coach Chris Beard. There was serious doubt heading into the season over whether Texas Tech would even make the NCAAs, let alone compete with Kansas at the top of the conference. Not only did the Red Raiders end up notching a double-digit win at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 2 and pose a serious threat to the Jayhawks’ league title streak, they earned their highest AP Poll ranking in program history (sixth, in mid-February), secured their highest seed in the tournament (No. 3) since 1996, and made their first trip to the Elite Eight. An ill-timed toe injury to standout senior point guard Keenan Evans prevented Texas Tech from ascending another rung.