Austin Hanson, Sports Editor

Iowa forward Keegan Murray won’t win The Big Ten Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year award this season, and I’m not sure if there’s anything he can do on or off the court to change that.

I’m not saying Murray isn’t deserving of the honor — 23.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game are nothing to sneeze at. If I had a Big Ten Player of the Year vote, I’d give it to Murray.

I just don’t believe enough people that actually decide who the Big Ten Player of the Year is think like me.

In most sports, player of the year awards are biased. Athletes on good teams are always more likely to garner player of the year attention than those that are not. Even if one particular player is more valuable to their bad team than another athlete is to their high-achieving squad, the competitor on the better team traditionally wins the award.

The Hawkeyes aren’t bad this season. I said they would be terrible before their 2021-22 campaign began. I’ve since eaten those words.

However, Iowa still isn’t one of the Big Ten’s best teams. The Hawkeyes have been muddling through the middle of the league standings for most of the season.

Iowa is unlikely to receive a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis in a few weeks, judging by its current trajectory. That will tell conference player of the year voters that Iowa isn’t one of the league’s best four teams.

If the Hawkeyes don’t get a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament, voters might be inclined to cast their ballots in favor of players other than Murray. Why would they give their player of the year vote to an athlete on a middling team like Murray when they could mark their ballots in favor of competitors on the conference’s top teams like Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn, Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell, or Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis?

If Keegan Murray isn’t named Big Ten Player of the Year, I’ll consider it highway robbery. Still, I just don’t see voters casting their ballots for him if Iowa isn’t one of the league’s best four teams.