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Minnesota Basketball: Reggie Lynch is the Big Ten’s Best Defender

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And he deserves the accolades for it.

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Maryland Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten season is winding down and it is nearly time for the Big Ten to announce their awards. Zips did a nice piece yesterday on who should win awards for this Gopher squad.

But I want to reiterate that Reggie Lynch truly deserves to be the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year. Other names being mentioned for the award are very nice defenders. But there isn’t one player in the league who has a bigger impact defensively than Reggie Lynch.

Exhibit A

That’s it really, the video speaks for itself.

Exhibit B: 101 blocked shots

Numbers wise, Lynch is dominating the paint with his blocked shots. He is averaging 3.6 blocks per game in conference games and leading the Big Ten by a long-shot. Nationally he is 2nd in block %. But that only tells part of the story. Lynch’s ability to own the paint in the Big Ten as allowed the Gopher perimeter defense to close out hard on shooters and not have to worry about penetration as much. The Gopher 3pnt FG% defense is 8th in the country; in part to Lynch. As I stated, there isn’t a defender in the conference who has had a bigger defensive impact.

Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ’s name is often mentioned as the man to beat for DPOY in the Big Ten. And I’ll grant you that he has put up better offensive numbers and is a better rebounder. But there is no way that he’s more of a game-changing defensive player than Lynch. Don’t let offensive numbers misguide your vote.

Two things will hurt Lynch’s candidacy here. Preseason expectations and offense performance often influence this voting. Happ was a preseason All-Big Ten guy and has better offensive numbers. Same can be said for Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan. Both are excellent players on both ends of the floor.

Lynch was not heralded in October, instead he went out and dominated the defensive end throughout the season and really has earned the right to be the Big Ten’s best defensive player.