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As we begin to wind this season up (especially for Wake Forest), really the only questions that are left to be answered are: Will Wake Forest win another game, or set an ACC record for losses in a season (24), as well as losses in the ACC in one season (15), and if Travis McKie can win ACC Freshman of the Year.
Kyrie Irving probably would have taken the honors if he had no gone down with his toe injury so early in the year. Harrison Barnes had extremely lofty expectations set for him before the season began, and just in the past month has started to live up to them. Travis McKie has gone mostly under the radar, as he came in with four other freshman, and Wake Forest has been historically bad.
Click through to check out stats for McKie and Barnes, and which player should win FOY in the ACC.
- As you can see from the stats, the two have very similar bottom lines. Harrison Barnes has been better in the ACC in terms of producing points, but he is also forcing it more. The previous two games that UNC played, Barnes shot a lot of threes when he didn't need to. He made a couple, but he also missed a lot.
- In terms of efficiency (KenPom, the last comparison on the chart), Travis McKie blows Harrison Barnes out of the water. He plays more minutes for his team (a lot out of necessity), yet he doesn't force his offensive game, which shows up in the offensive rating, as well as % of shots/possessions that end with him. He rebounds better offensively and defensively %-wise than Barnes has. I will, however, point out that Barnes has much better rebounders around him than Travis McKie does, so that is probably a reason for some of discrepancies. I think in the long run of all the stats, they are on equal terms though regarding the teams that each play on. Barnes will not have as many stats because there is a lot more talent on UNC's roster, but McKie has been more efficient than Barnes has, despite not having as much offensive firepower on his team.
- Both of these players have done very well for their respective teams. Barnes was expected to do much more (media pressure), but has still had a good year on a very good UNC team. Travis McKie has been the bright spot on a pretty bad team, and gives it his all every single night. The stats are similar, but I will give the nod to McKie for the stats-based argument because of how he has gone about accruing them.
- When players are playing at a similar level, the voting will come down to things such as: how the team is doing, the "watchability" of the player, and the name value. Harrison Barnes wins all three of these categories in pretty much a landslide. UNC is obviously a much better team than Wake Forest. Harrison Barnes is a highlight reel (although Assane Sene would argue that Travis McKie is too). The media all know who Harrison Barnes is, and not as many know about Travis McKie. Barnes will continue to get a lot of visibility as the season winds down with the Tar Heels playing good basketball, also because of the way he has improved. McKie will not get this visibility because the Deacs only have some bubble teams, and a couple of below average teams left.
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