The Three Players with the Best Wooden Award Odds in Early February
As the calendar has changed over to February, college basketball begins to hit a new level of importance as schools make their push towards being one of 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament.
It should be no surprise then that the race to win Wooden Award, given to the most outstanding college basketball player in the country, will be equally hotly contested.
Here is how the race for the Wooden Award is shaping up as we enter the first full week of February.
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Third-Best Favorite (F Obi Toppin, Dayton, Wooden Award Odds: +350)
The Dayton Flyers have been, excuse the pun, flying high all season en route to a 20-2 start and 9-0 record in the Atlantic 10.
The 6-9 sophomore is a big reason why Dayton has enjoyed the best start in school history, as Toppin is averaging 19.7 points, eight rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game for the #6 team in the country.
Toppin is a huge reason why the Flyers lead the country with an incredible 62.7 shooting percentage from two-point range, which would be one of the best shooting percentages in the history of college basketball if that continues.
Pair all of this with his eye-popping dunks, and you can see why this potential future lottery pick has captured the hearts of many in college basketball.
If Dayton continues to make a run at a possible #1 seed in March, the case for Toppin to be the player of the year will only grow stronger.
Second-Best Favorite (G Payton Pritchard, Oregon, Wooden Award Odds: +200)
The Oregon Ducks boast one of the best offensive teams in the country, particularly from 3-point range where they have four guards all shooting at 39% or better from deep.
Entering this weeks play, the Ducks have the 12th best shooting team from 3-point range in the country, but its their senior guard Payton Pritchard that is the straw that stirs the Ducks drink.
Pritchard is averaging 19.6 points, 5.8 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game for the 14th ranked Pac-12 leading Ducks and figures to be the catalyst for any postseason success the Ducks may enjoy this season.
Currently, Pritchard remains as the second-best favorite to win the Wooden Award at +200, but with Oregon’s team performance stumbling of late, we are not sure how long this will hold up.
Current Favorite (C Luka Garza, Iowa, Wooden Award Odds: +150)
Iowa’s 6-11 big man enters this week as the odds-on favorite to win the Wooden Award and when looking at Garza’s body of work it’s not hard to see why.
The center currently averages 23 points and 10 rebounds per game for 17th ranked Iowa and has been nearly unstoppable in conference play so far.
So far this season, Garza has recorded 13 double-doubles and if his presence down low isn’t hard enough for Big Ten teams to contend with, Garza has also added a 3-point shot to his arsenal this year as the big man is shooting 38% from distance this year.
If Iowa is able to contend for a Big Ten title, Garza may be rewarded with college basketball’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy for his outstanding play as a result.
Other Names of Note When Discussing Wooden Award Odds
- Cassius Winston (G, Michigan State, +500)
Winston entered this season as the short favorite to take home the Wooden Award and remains a key part to the Spartans success in March. A strong February and conference tournament performance could vault the senior guard right back to the top of the Wooden Award list.
- Markus Howard (G, Marquette, +600)
Howard is the leading scorer in college basketball at 28 points per game and as he goes, so to usually goes Marquette. If Howard is able to carry Marquette to a Big East championship, his gaudy scoring numbers may garner attention from voters to bring home the Wooden Award.
- Jordan Nwora (F, Louisville, +1000)
The Louisville Cardinals are looking like a serious National Championship contender with each passing week and the play of their junior forward is a major reason why. Nwora is averaging 19.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for the ACC leading Cardinals and recently chipped in a 37-point, 9 rebound performance against Boston College. His body of work is likely not enough to leap Obi Toppin or Luka Garza in the race to claim the Wooden Award, but if Louisville continues their surge to the top of the college basketball rankings you may hear Nwora’s name mentioned a lot more for this award.
- Malachi Flynn (G, San Diego State, +2000)
If you’re looking for a deep sleeper to stake claim to the Wooden Award, you may find that in guard Malachi Flynn. Flynn is not a household name thanks to where he plays, but San Diego State is staring at a possible unbeaten record heading into the NCAA Tournament as the Aztecs are 23-0 coming into this weeks play and do not face a team ranking in the BPI Top 100 the rest of the way. If others in front of Flynn stumble over the next six weeks, voters may consider rewarding the best player on the only undefeated team in the country.