Thursday, May 7, 2015

Rapid Reaction: Bitter, Sankey Not Tawaaraton Finalists

Jimmy Bitter has recorded 34 goals on 69 points this season. Joey Sankey 27 goals on 63 points. Both have led the second highest scoring offense in the nation on their way to a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Neither will receive the Tawaaraton Trophy at the end of May. They won't even get consideration.

Instead the selection committee announced that Kevin Rice, Lyle Thompson, Myles Jones, Matt Kavanagh and Wes Burg would be finalists for the award.

It's always tough to argue against nominating key players on top-ranked teams, and discounting a player like Lyle Thompson because he plays on a team that isn't as highly-ranked would be ignorant.

But saying that guys like Bitter and Sankey, who are a deep playoff run from shattering UNC records, aren't at least as deserving as a guy like Wes Burg who has 43 goals and 60 points.

No disrespect to Burg, but he has eerily similar statistics to an attackman, Luke Goldstock (44 g, 60 p), who is the third best attackman at North Carolina.

There's no doubt Matt Kavanagh has done an outstanding job with the Notre Dame offense, but he has few points per game than both Sankey and Bitter. The junior accumulated 50 points through 12 regular season games, and proved he has a clutch gene that's unmatched. Does that mean that he's more deserving of the Tawaaraton Award than two guys who captain an offense that averages a point more per game than the Fighting Irish?

Kevin Rice carried the Syracuse Orange past UNC to an ACC Championship a week ago and boasts a 68 point season. His resume is nearly identical to that of Bitter and Sankey. Each player plays for a top-ranked team, has recorded 60-plus points and has beaten numerous top-ranked opponents. I don't think you can make a case that he's any more deserving either.

We're splitting hairs here, I'll admit, but neither Bitter nor Sankey being names finalists is flabbergasting. When I saw that neither player was named a finalist, I was surprised. I looked into the statistics, and this is what I found. I'll leave it to you to decide if I'm correct.

Do I have a bias because I've watched Bitter and Sankey closely throughout their careers? There's no doubt, but the numbers don't lie.

And the impact these two have on a game doesn't either.

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