Obi “Toppin” the Wooden Award Odds Board as We Enter March
By: Brent Booher
We have entered the final week of February, and March basketball is nearly upon us.
As we’ve come into the last week of February and the near conclusion of college basketball’s regular season, two names remain as the biggest favorites to take home the college basketball equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the current state of the Wooden Award
Who Has the Best Wooden Award Odds
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The Third Best Wooden Award Odds – G, Malachi Flynn, San Diego State (+350); Last Week: (+350)
Unfortunately for Flynn, the Aztecs finally suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday at the hands of UNLV 66-63.
While Malachi Flynn’s candidacy for the Wooden Award was not completely dependent on San Diego State finishing the season undefeated, the Aztecs going 29-0 and then winning the Mountain West Tournament could have made his case much stronger.
San Diego State’s regular season concludes on Saturday, a full week before the leaders on this board will see their last action, and recency bias can hurt Flynn’s cause as much as anything.
Flynn will need to have a strong finish to the season and an electric conference tournament to have a real say in the Wooden Award race, but this week he remains a distant third on the odds board.
The Second Favorite Wooden Award Odds – F/C, Luka Garza, Iowa (+115); Last Week: (+115)
Garza remains the second-best favorite with his 2020 Wooden Award odds at +115.
Last week, Garza was finally unseated at the top of the board, but still figures to have a very strong case to bring the Wooden Award back to Iowa City.
The 6-11 big man continues to torment Big Ten competition, averaging nearly 24 points and 10 rebounds per game, while shooting 38-percent from distance.
Garza is a major reason why Iowa has spent most of the season in the Top 25 and remains within distance of Maryland for first-place in the loaded Big Ten.
In terms of pure value, you’d be hard pressed to find a player more important to his teams’ performance than Garza, and should Iowa make a run ahead of the NCAA Tournament, we may see Garza resume his standing as the odds-on favorite to win the award.
Wooden Award Odds-On Favorite – F, Obi Toppin, Dayton (-125); Last Week: (EVEN)
Toppin overtook the aforementioned Garza on last weeks Wooden Award odds list, and this week he has solidified the top spot a bit more.
A week ago, you could get Toppin at even money to win the 2020 Wooden Award, but now he’s actually listed as a small favorite at -125.
Considering just two weeks ago Toppin was listed at +350, and well, you can see how quickly Toppin has flown up the leaderboard to bring the highly regarded award back to Dayton, Ohio.
For those of you not overly familiar with Dayton Flyers basketball, they are currently enjoying their best season ever and have cracked the Top 4 of the AP/Coaches polls entering this week’s action.
Toppin has been the catalyst for this, as his consistency and overall efficiency are the biggest reasons why the Flyers may be awarded with their first ever No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and why the Flyers are a serious National Championship contender.
The high-flying forward is presently averaging just over 19 points and 7 rebounds per game on 62% shooting, and if that weren’t enough, he’s also chipping in more than a steal and block per contest.
Toppin is best known this season for his jaw-dropping dunks, which have spawned many a run for the Flyers attack and just seem to demoralize a defense beyond repair.
Should Dayton avoid a late-season stumble, Toppin figures to have the slight edge over Luka Garza to be named the 2020 Wooden Award winner.
Wooden Award Sleepers Entering the Week
Devon Dotson, G, Kansas – (+550 to win)
The Jayhawks won the game-of-the-year on Saturday over then #1 ranked Baylor and by doing so, established themselves as the new odds-on favorite to win the National Championship.
It stands to reason then, that the sophomore point guard, and overall best player from the Rock Chalk Jayhawk variety, would merit a fair bit of attention to bring home the Wooden Award.
With the Jayhawks back at #1 in both polls, their attention will be turned to winning the Big 12 regular season crown and tournament, of which they will almost certainly need to get by Baylor again.
Should they continue this torrid play, Dotson’s +550 isn’t going to be around for much longer.
Markus Howard, G, Marquette – (+500 to win)
When Markus Howard is on his game, there may not be a more entertaining player in the country.
However, the problem for Howard is, he often doesn’t get a whole lot of help from his fellow Golden Eagle teammates.
Take Saturday’s loss against Providence for example. Howard was spectacular, scoring 38 points and getting to the free-throw line 17 times.
The next closest Marquette player in the box score? Guard Greg Elliott with 10 points.
No one else was in double figures.
This is why Howard has a bit of a mountain to climb to get himself into serious contention for the Wooden Award, and while there is not a better scorer in all of college basketball (27.1 ppg this season), Howard’s supporting cast may be what ultimately prevents him from winning the award.
However, don’t fully rule out Howard catching fire as Marquette makes a run. If this occurs, Howard may have a punchers chance to steal the Wooden Award away from the leaders at the top.