To this level, there is no such thing as a query as to who has been essentially the most spectacular participant in the course of the school basketball season: Oklahoma freshman guard Trae Young.
The nation’s chief in each scoring (29.1 factors per recreation) and assists (9.three), Young is the clear favourite for the Wooden Award. Two weeks in the past, it appeared like he was a digital lock and the ultimate two months of the season would function considerably of a ship-off celebration earlier than his inevitable leap to the NBA.
But even then, after Young scored 44 factors in a 98-96 win towards Baylor on Jan. 30, there have been indicators that Oklahoma won’t be a lot of an element come March. The Sooners misplaced three of 4 going into that win after peaking at No. 9 within the AP ballot and have since misplaced 4 straight to fall right into a fifth-place tie with Baylor within the Big 12 at 6-7.
The Sooners’ poor run is not regardless of brilliance from Young, both. He’s nonetheless scoring at a excessive clip, however within the 4-recreation skid he has made simply 7 of 41 three-level makes an attempt and dedicated 23 turnovers.
In the previous 20 years, just one Wooden Award winner has come from a staff with double-digit losses — Texas was 25-10 when Kevin Durant received it in 2007. In that very same span, each winner’s staff received not less than one recreation within the NCAA match and all however two superior previous the match’s opening weekend.
In ESPN’s newest Bracketology, which got here out earlier than Oklahoma misplaced to Texas Tech on Tuesday, the Sooners had been listed as a No. 5 seed, but it surely’s not inconceivable for the Sooners to not make the match. Say they lose three of their remaining common-season video games and bow out within the first spherical of the Big 12 match. At 18-13, they might be firmly on the bubble and in the event that they get neglected, Young’s shot at profitable the Wooden can be a break from historical past.
So, if the Sooners lose him out of competition, who would have an actual probability at profitable?
Right now, that is anyone’s guess, however listed here are a couple of potentialities — and it’ll possible be determined extra by what occurs over the remainder of the season.
The draft darlings
Deandre Ayton, Arizona: The Wildcats have not fairly met expectations, however they’re nonetheless 20-6, in first place within the Pac-12 and Ayton has been a dominant drive. At 7-foot-1, he is a powerful candidate to be drafted No. 1 general within the upcoming NBA draft and if he has a memorable March, he might play his manner into competition. He’s averaging 19.5 factors, 10.7 rebounds and 1.eight blocks per recreation.
Marvin Bagley III, Duke: A knee damage has stored him out of the Blue Devils’ previous two video games, however when he is on the court docket it is easy to see why Bagley believed he did not want one other season of highschool basketball. In truth, there is a case to be made that he was able to play within the NBA this season. Like Ayton, and the remainder of these candidates, there’s nonetheless loads of time for him to go away his mark on the season.
The greatest gamers on good groups
Miles Bridges, Michigan State: A favourite for the award when the season started, Bridges leads the second-ranked Spartans in scoring (17.three) and knocked down a key shot late to beat then-No. three Purdue final week. With one other run to the Final Four, Bridges may very well be deserving.
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier: The Musketeers have received 9 in a row, together with a win towards Seton Hall on Wednesday by which Bluiett went for a season-excessive 37 factors. He has an opportunity Saturday towards Villanova to make a press release in a recreation that would give Xavier a 2½-recreation lead within the Big East standings.
Keenan Evans, Texas Tech
Evans’ rise was highlighted in final week’s Wooden Watch and took one other important step ahead after outplaying Young in Tech’s 88-78 win on Tuesday. Evans scored 26 factors, aided by taking pictures four-of-7 on 3s, and has the Red Raiders on their own in first place within the Big 12.
Jock Landale, Saint Mary’s
Largely due to Landale, the Gaels climbed to their highest rating in program historical past — No. 11 within the AP ballot — however towards Gonzaga at dwelling, with an opportunity to maneuver into the highest 10, he was ineffective. Landale scored simply 4 factors — his lowest whole up to now two seasons — as Saint Mary’s misplaced 78-65 on Saturday. He’ll have an opportunity to bounce again Thursday towards San Francisco, which he scored 26 factors towards the primary time they performed.
Others to look at: Mohamed Bamba, Texas; Keita Bates-Diop, Ohio State; Mikal Bridges, Villanova; Jalen Brunson, Villanova; Carsen Edwards, Purdue; Vincent Edwards, Purdue; Marcus Foster, Creighton; Kansas; Luke Maye, North Carolina; Collin Sexton, Alabama; Allonzo Trier, Arizona.