Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Predicting the 2023-24 Player of the Year in each conference

Who is the most impactful player in each conference? These are the list of players who should win the Player of the Year in their leagues.

Northwestern v Purdue
Northwestern v Purdue / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
3 of 10

Big East: Tristen Newton (Connecticut)

Current Averages: 15.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.7 assists

This is the one I have the least confidence about because there are about five other guys who could win this award, and no one would be upset about it. Newton gets the nod for me because he runs the offense for the top team in the nation and he is also their leading scorer. Newton is the guy that every team wishes they had. He always makes the right play and has a knack for getting a bucket when the Huskies desperately need one. He may not be having the best offensive year, he is currently on pace for his lowest efficiency of his career, but he has become a better rebounder and passer in his time at Connecticut and his defense is fantastic.

Big Sky: Saint Thomas (Northern Colorado)

Current Averages: 19.9 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists

If you have watched any games that Thomas has played it is evident very quickly that he is the best player on the floor almost every night. The junior forward from Omaha is in his first year at Northern Colorado after transferring from Loyola-Chicago, and he is now getting consistent playing time and has become the star of the show for the Bears. Thomas is shooting almost 50% from the floor, 35% from deep and 86% from the free throw line. The forward has points in most games where he is unguardable and has turned Northern Colorado into a legitimate contender in the Big Sky. He is an elite rebounder and a great passer for a wing. Thomas is averaging over 21 points per game in the conference and dominates on both ends of the floor. Everyone else is battling for second place.

Big South: Drew Pember (UNC Asheville)

Current Averages: 20.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists

Pember is the reigning Big South player of the year and is likely going to win it again this year. Last season he won it going away but this year depending on how the rest of the year goes there may be some competition for the top dog in the Big South. The Bulldogs big man dominates games and there is not much anyone in the conference can do to slow him down. Pember scores from everywhere and he is not shooting the ball from deep nearly as good as he was last year, but he has still been able to replicate his dominance from last season. Pember is on pace to lead the country in free throw makes and free throw attempts again this year. The big man also accumulates a ton of blocks and a ton of assists. There isn’t much else to say about Pember that someone hasn’t already said. He is the best player in the Big South by a wide margin and plays on arguably the best team in the league as well.