The race for the Wooden Award, college basketball’s top individual honor, has been whittled down to three contenders heading into the final week of the regular season.
Victor Oladipo of Indiana, Trey Burke of Michigan, and Otto Porter of Georgetown are at the top of the oddsmakers' list to win the Wooden, but there are some sleeper selections tagged as “The Field”. Here’s a closer look at those three stars and some possible Player of the Year dark horses:
Victor Oladipo, Indiana Hoosiers (+120)
Oladipo was supposed to take a backseat to Hoosiers big man Cody Zeller this season but the 6-foot-5 senior emerged as one of the best all-around guards in the country. He’s averaging just under 14 points, six rebounds and two assists per game while locking down opponents’ top perimeter threats. Oladipo has, however, taken a step back in recent games. He scored 10 points in a win over Iowa and managed just seven points in Tuesday’s loss to Ohio State.
Trey Burke, Michigan Wolverines (+250)
Burke showed just how valuable he is with a key steal and go-ahead bucket in a win over Michigan State last weekend. He is averaging just under 18 points on the season but has picked up the pace in recent games, scoring 23.5 over his last four contests. The 6-foot sophomore could be the most exciting player in the country.
Otto Porter, Georgetown Hoyas (+300)
The fact that Porter has been able to shine as bright as he has in the Hoyas’ slow-motion Princeton offense is a testament to just how good the 6-foot-8 sophomore is. He’s scoring 16.6 points per night but that would easily be 20-plus in any other system. Porter has put Georgetown on his back at times, like the 33 points he dropped on Syracuse last month.
Kelly Olynyk from Gonzaga was listed at +500 entering the week after leading the Bulldogs to their first No. 1 ranking. The long-haired 7-footer is a force down low and stretches the defense with his range from outside.
Shane Larkin from Miami, who entered the week at +800, gets a big nod from his stiffest competition. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters Larkin is "by far" the best guard in the ACC. He’s backed up that billing, averaging 13.8 points and has kept the Canes at the top of the conference.
Doug McDermott of Creighton was a popular Wooden long shot early in the season, but slipped to +1,200 entering the week. The Bluejays won the MVC season crown after some stumbles thanks to two huge efforts from the 6-foot-7 junior, who scored 32 and 41 points in those wins.
Odds courtesy of CarbonSports.ag.