Handicapping participant of the 12 months races is at all times a tough activity. However in a season crammed with paused packages and unequal league slates attributable to COVID-19 challenges, it has no means been more durable to determine the highest candidates in every school basketball convention.
Some groups have performed 15 league video games. Others have performed two. Significantly. Let’s simply say pattern dimension was a problem on this evaluation. This season, the record of potential participant of the 12 months candidates is lengthy and plentiful with potentialities.
Keep in mind, all of this might change within the ultimate weeks of the season, however we predict this can be a good barometer of the place every race is headed.
Grimes has made one of many league’s most wonderful turns, going from five-star prospect at Kansas to chief of a Houston staff that is attempting to seize a high seed within the NCAA match. He has been a 38% 3-point shooter in league play and has averaged 15.Eight factors per recreation and 6.Zero rebounds per recreation.
After coach Gregg Marshall was dismissed in November following experiences that he had hit a former participant and choked a coach on his workers, issues did not look good for Wichita State. However lead assistant Isaac Brown saved this group collectively, and Etienne (16.9 PPG, 40% clip from the 3-point line in league play) has helped his staff battle Houston for the league crown.
Jones and Louisville hope to rebuild the momentum because the postseason approaches following a late-season pause that would disrupt the staff’s mojo. With Jones (17.2 PPG, 5.Zero assists per recreation), nonetheless, coach Chris Mack is aware of he has one of many convention’s greatest gamers and a reliable ball handler who has dedicated turnovers on simply 13.5% of his possessions, per KenPom.
This can be a Duke staff that was possible headed towards a postseason conclusion with out an NCAA match look lengthy earlier than Jalen Johnson‘s determination to choose out on Monday after an up-and-down season. However Damage, who’s averaging 18.2 PPG in league play, has made 44% of his 3-point makes an attempt and 61% of his pictures contained in the arc in ACC motion, which is an eye-popping set of numbers that may’t be ignored, whilst Duke struggles.
America East Convention
Resulting from COVID-19 restrictions, Vermont’s season did not begin till Dec. 21, however the Catamounts haven’t wasted time rising to the highest of the league, which isn’t uncommon. Davis has averaged 18.9 PPG and made 43% of his 3-point makes an attempt in convention play, steadying this operation for John Becker’s program.
He’s averaging 14.Eight PPG and main the convention in boards (8.9 RPG) as his staff sits in a tie with Vermont for first place within the league. Horvath additionally has made 39% of his 3-point makes an attempt for a staff that could be one half of a compelling America East match title recreation.
Atlantic 10 Convention
Throughout his staff’s present five-game successful streak, Hyland has averaged 23.2 PPG. He additionally has made 39% of his 3-point makes an attempt in league play.
Final season, Crutcher was one in every of Obi Toppin‘s key teammates as the long run New York Knick was pushing towards the Wood Award. This season, Crutcher is averaging 19.Three PPG in league play for a Dayton squad preventing to get into the league’s high tier. He additionally has related on 40% of his 3-point makes an attempt for Anthony Grant’s squad, which entered the week 7-5 in Atlantic 10 play.
Atlantic Solar Convention
One in all school basketball’s greatest tales, the Knights are in first place within the Atlantic Solar as the previous Division II standouts make the four-year transition to Division I hoops. Bradshaw has been important for this system, averaging 15.Four PPG and hitting at a 38% clip from the three line.
They can not all be Bellarmine, however Liberty has solely misplaced one recreation since Jan. 1. And Preston, a 6-foot-9 middle, is nailing pictures contained in the arc at a 55% fee in league play.
Large East Convention
It appears like Gillespie has performed on each Villanova staff that is ever received a nationwide title, however the senior is the principle occasion for a Wildcats program that’s — shock, shock — the highest staff within the Large East and the most effective squads in America. He’s averaging 18.Zero PPG and 5.Four APG in league play so far.
Mamukelashvili (13.6 PPG, 7.2 RPG) has been one of many vital elements in Seton Corridor’s present three-game successful streak. He has made 50% of his makes an attempt contained in the arc and 79% of his free throw makes an attempt in league play.
Large Sky Convention
Groves is averaging 19.Three PPG and eight.2 RPG, each top-three marks within the Large Sky, the place Japanese Washington entered the week in first place at 9-2 in league play. He is also the league’s chief in discipline aim fee (61%).
A few of Esposito’s greatest efforts this season (see: 22 factors in a double-digit loss to Cal Baptist on Friday) haven’t been capable of lead Sacramento State into rivalry. However the environment friendly 6-foot-7 submit participant averaging 18.Eight PPG is doing all the things he can to get this system above .500 in league play season’s finish.
Large South Convention
He’s placing up 24.Four PPG in league play for the Pirates, an effort that has helped Hampton keep a spot within the aggressive league’s high tier. Hampton has made 50% of its pictures contained in the arc with Warren on the ground and 37% when he’s on the bench.
The Uniontown, Ohio, native has been an actual enhance for the Eagles, who’ve made 39% of their 3-point makes an attempt with Vaudrin on the ground. He is also averaging 13.1 PPG and seven.Zero RPG in league play for a Winthrop squad that would clinch the league’s title this week.
Large 12 Convention
When Butler made the choice to withdraw from the NBA draft previous to the season, he modified the trajectory of Scott Drew’s program, which is now one in every of two undefeated groups within the nation. Butler has made 45% of his Three makes an attempt in Large 12 motion, and he has proved to be one in every of America’s high two-way gamers on a staff that would win its first nationwide championship this season.
He’s averaging a double-double for the season — 15.1 PPG and 10.Four RPG — for a West Virginia squad with a chance to make numerous noise within the NCAA match. In Saturday’s 91-90 double-overtime loss to Oklahoma, Culver made 13 of 23 pictures contained in the arc.
Large Ten Convention
The Wood Award front-runner’s accuracy from the 3-point line — 34% in Large Ten motion — has dipped, however that hasn’t modified his dominance on the ground for the Hawkeyes. He’s nonetheless averaging 22.1 PPG, and Iowa has made 53% of its pictures contained in the arc and 41% of its Three makes an attempt — Garza drawing further defenders each time he touches the ball helps — when the massive man is on the ground.
Dosunmu (20.Three PPG, 40% from the three line) could be Garza’s fiercest competitors for the Wood Award and Large Ten participant of the 12 months honors. His 31-point effort in Thursday’s 77-72 extra time win in opposition to Nebraska was simply one other unbelievable alternative for Illinois, which has received 5 in a row, to let Dosunmu don his cape and change into the superhero the staff has wanted him to be this marketing campaign.
Large West Convention
Should you’re a UC Santa Barbara fan, you do not know what it is prefer to lose in 2021, as a result of McLaughlin (16.1 PPG, 4.2 APG in league play) hasn’t allowed it to occur. He additionally has made 39% of his Three makes an attempt, one other element of his staff’s present eight-game successful streak.
Welp, a primary staff all-Large West performer a 12 months in the past, picked up the place he left off with one other stellar effort. He’s averaging 15.5 PPG and connecting on 38% of his 3s in league play.
Colonial Athletic Affiliation
Lewis has made 60% of his pictures on the rim and 41% of his leap pictures contained in the arc, per hoop-math.com. He is also averaging 17.7 PPG and 1.Eight SPG in league play for a James Madison squad that entered the week in first place within the CAA.
He’s maybe the league’s most versatile risk, main the league in steals (2.5 per recreation) whereas averaging 19.Three PPG. 4 CAA squads have did not register 60 or extra factors in opposition to Northeastern, the highest defensive staff within the convention, with Walker’s effort on protection.
He put collectively this run in three consecutive video games in opposition to Energy 5 colleges in nonconference play: 21 factors, 14 rebounds in a win over Memphis; 15 factors, eight rebounds and two blocks in a loss to West Virginia; and 13 factors, 15 rebounds and 5 blocks in a loss to Louisville. That effectiveness has continued in league play, throughout which Bassey is averaging 18.2 PPG, 12.Zero RPG and a couple of.9 blocks per recreation.
Kinsey is averaging 19.5 PPG, second within the league, for a Thundering Herd program that has received 5 of its previous six contests. He additionally is among the league’s most effective threats: 80% from the free throw line, 53% taking pictures from contained in the arc and 46% from the three line.
Will probably be tough to take the award from a man who’s averaging 24.1 PPG and connecting on 42% of his 3s in league play — all of this whereas he’s logging 38.1 minutes per recreation for his father Mike Davis’ squad.
Scott Nagy’s staff entered the week ranked 60th within the NET rankings and 55th in KenPom. No different squad within the convention has these marks, as a result of no different staff within the convention has Love, who’s averaging 17.Four PPG and connecting on 57% of his pictures contained in the arc in league play.
The issue with a league like that is that COVID-19 pauses have created a serious hole within the variety of video games every staff has performed: Iona entered the week with six league video games, whereas Monmouth had 14. However Hammond is averaging 16.Eight PPG via 14 contests for a staff that’s 10-Four in league play, and that has to rely for one thing.
Rick Pitino’s squad has been hit onerous COVID-19, which has precipitated a number of delays. So whereas Ross, who’s averaging 18.7 PPG and connecting on 47% of his 3-pointers via six league video games, is within the combine for participant of the 12 months, we simply have not seen sufficient to completely decide him but.
One in all America’s pound-for-pound standouts, the 5-foot-Eight guard from Chicago has scored 30 factors or extra in 4 league video games so far. The senior, who’s averaging 20.Eight PPG in league motion, is the anchor of a program that entered the week because the winner of eight of its previous 9 video games.
The league’s chief in scoring (21.Eight PPG) can also be averaging 10.Zero RPG and 1.Four BPG for a Kent State staff that is nonetheless a real contender within the MAC title race. You may bear in mind Pippen because the participant who put up 13 factors in his staff’s extra time loss to Virginia in December.
He’s 11th within the nation in share of minutes performed on KenPom. However the high-usage duties haven’t slowed the 6-foot-Four junior from Pensacola, Florida, who’s averaging 14.Eight PPG, 8.6 RPG, 6.Zero APG and a couple of.2 SPG in league play.
Harris, a former ESPN top-100 prospect, made stops at Missouri and NC State, earlier than transferring to North Carolina A&T final 12 months. After sitting out final season, he has helped Will Jones’ squad win its first 4 video games in MEAC play, averaging 14.Zero PPG.
Missouri Valley Convention
Three years after serving to his staff make a miraculous run to the Ultimate 4 in 2018, Krutwig is now a official candidate for All-American honors after averaging 15.Zero PPG, 6.6 RPG, 3.Zero APG, 1.Zero BPG and 1.Zero SPG so far. He is also a key participant for No. 22 Loyola Chicago on protection, the place the staff is presently first in adjusted effectivity on KenPom.
Whereas the basketball world’s focus centered on the collision course of Drake and Loyola Chicago, which break up their sequence over the weekend, Prim has turned Missouri State — winners of 5 in a row — right into a top-tier squad that would pull off an upset within the Missouri Valley Convention match. He’s averaging 15.Zero PPG (60% clip contained in the arc) and 9.2 RPG in league play.
Mountain West Convention
The 7-footer battled accidents all through final season, however his availability this marketing campaign helped Craig Smith’s group win its first 9 video games in Mountain West motion. Queta is a two-way drive who’s averaging 12.Four PPG, 9.Four RPG, 3.Zero APG and three.Eight BPG in convention play for the highest staff within the league.
The sophomore level guard on Steve Alford’s squad is averaging 20.5 PPG through the four-game successful streak the staff had put collectively coming into this week. He additionally has made 43% of his 3-point makes an attempt throughout that rally for a Nevada staff that is now within the hunt for the Mountain West championship.
The junior guard, who lately secured his third NEC participant of the week honor, has made 41% of his 3s and 86% of his free throws in league play. He additionally has related on 57% of his assisted spot-up makes an attempt, per Synergy Sports activities information.
Morales has scored 20 factors or extra in 5 NEC matchups so far. He is also averaging 18.7 PPG and connecting on 50% of his makes an attempt contained in the arc in league play.
Ohio Valley Convention
The convention’s chief in scoring (22.2 PPG) and rebounding (11.2 RPG) is also the explanation Austin Peay must be a stylish choose to win the OVC match subsequent month. With Taylor’s submit presence, this can be a staff with a pair of current one-point losses that would have shifted the league standings. (Austin Peay entered the week in fifth place.)
He’s the chief of a Belmont squad that has received 19 consecutive video games. Casey Alexander’s squad had made 62% of its pictures contained in the arc and 38% of its Three makes an attempt with Muszynski on the ground this season, per hooplens.com.
Mobley has justified all the NBA buzz — he’s listed because the projected No. 2 choose in ESPN.com’s newest mock draft — with an unbelievable efficiency that does not simply stand out amongst freshmen. He’s the very best participant on the very best staff within the Pac-12, as evidenced his 60% clip contained in the arc in league play so far. Because the race for the Pac-12 crown has intensified, Mobley (16.6 PPG, 9.Zero RPG and three.1 BPG) has simply elevated his effort and execution.
The 6-foot-9 star from Munich, Germany, has made a outstanding 69% of his pictures on the rim this season, per hoop-math.com. And Stanford has made 55% of its pictures contained in the arc with da Silva (19.2 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.Three APG, 1.1 BPG) on the ground.
The guard from San Antonio is averaging 17.5 PPG, 5.Three APG, 1.7 SPG for Colgate, the No. 1 staff in offensive and defensive effectivity within the Patriot League, per KenPom. He additionally has made 40% of his 3s and 88% of his free throws in league play for the highest staff within the convention coming into the week.
Jaworski leads the convention with 21.Eight PPG and in addition is averaging 1.7 SPG in league play. Lafayette has made 51% of its pictures contained in the arc with Jaworski on the ground and 42% of those self same makes an attempt with out him.
We watched Thomas (22.6 PPG) reveal his significance to Will Wade’s NCAA match aspirations over the previous two video games, because the guard averaged 25.Zero PPG (10-for-17 contained in the arc) in back-to-back wins over Mississippi State and Tennessee, each double-digit margins. He has scored 17 factors or extra in 9 consecutive video games for an LSU squad that entered the week as a No. Eight seed in Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology.
Mann has been a vital participant for a program that needed to climate the absence of Keyontae Johnson, who lately introduced he wouldn’t return after collapsing throughout a matchup in opposition to rival Florida State in December. Previous to the staff’s Dec. Three pause, it had received 4 of its earlier 5 video games as Mann (14.5 PPG, 5.Three RPG, 3.Eight APG, 1.5 SPG), who has made 38% of his 3-pointers in league play, blossomed and helped Florida keep its postseason hopes throughout a tough season for Mike White’s program.
Miller, a senior and the reigning Southern Convention participant of the 12 months and defensive participant of the 12 months, has maintained his dominance. He entered the week within the high 10 in scoring (18.Three PPG), rebounding (7.2 RPG) and assists (3.Four APG) for the highest staff within the convention. The 2-way risk is also main the convention in steals (2.6 SPG).
You would not be shocked if coach Jay McAuley informed you Murphy was driving the staff’s bus to away video games, as a result of Murphy appears to be doing all the things for the squad. He’s averaging 17.7 PPG (39% from past the arc in league play) and 4.1 APG, whereas main the convention with an 88.1% clip from the charity stripe.
Kensmil, who’s averaging 16.Four PPG and seven.7 RPG in league motion, has performed a big function in his staff’s 10-1 rally over its previous 11 video games. He has three double-doubles in convention play because the catalyst for a Stephen F. Austin squad that has made 60% of its pictures contained in the arc in league play.
Different gamers on this league have larger numbers, however few have matched the affect Kohl (13.Eight PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.Four BPG in league play) has had for Abilene Christian (No. 30 in adjusted defensive effectivity on KenPom), which entered the week in a first-place tie with Sam Houston State. ACU has amassed 1.10 factors per possession (as in comparison with 0.89) and held opponents to a 43.2% taking pictures clip with Kohl on the ground this season.
The 6-foot-1 sophomore from Rockwall, Texas, has already scored 30, 42, 34 and 37 in league video games this season in some of the explosive efforts any participant within the nation. Abmas is averaging 25.5 PPG in convention play. The nation’s No. 2 general scorer within the nation, behind Luka Garza, Abmas (23.2 PPG) additionally has related on 44% of his 3s and 90% of his free throws in Summit League motion.
Though his teammate Douglas Wilson was the league’s preseason participant of the 12 months, Scheierman has emerged as essentially the most pivotal participant for a South Dakota State squad in third place within the league’s standings coming into the week. Scheierman is averaging 15.Three PPG and connecting on 39% of his 3s in convention motion, whereas additionally main the league in rebounding (10.Eight per recreation) and assists (5.Zero per recreation).
Solar Belt Convention
A Western Michigan switch and the highest scorer in league play at 21.5 PPG, Flowers helped Richie Riley’s squad ascend to second place with a six-game win streak. Flowers has used his taking pictures prowess (39% from past the arc in convention play) to place collectively 10 efforts general this season with 25 factors or extra.
The 6-foot-1 guard has made Coastal Carolina — taking part in on the highest tempo in league play, per KenPom — a potent operation in transition, the place he has scored on 67% of his assisted discipline aim makes an attempt and dedicated turnovers on simply 10% of these possessions, in keeping with Synergy Sports activities information. In league play, he’s second in scoring (18.7 PPG), seventh in boards (7.Zero RPG), sixth in discipline aim fee (45.2%) and fourth in free throw fee (90%).
Whereas COVID-19 problems had restricted his staff to only six league video games coming into the week (some SWAC groups had performed as many as 12), Jarrett has lived as much as the hype connected to his title when he was picked because the league’s preseason participant of the 12 months. He’s averaging 22.2 PPG in league motion whereas making 50% of his pictures contained in the arc for an undefeated Jackson State squad that sits first within the league’s standings.
The highest participant on the league’s different undefeated squad coming into the week is also main the convention in assists (9.2 per recreation) and assist-to-turnover ratio (3.Four to 1). Plus, Mack — a switch from Nebraska who’s fifth within the league at 14.2 PPG — is an important defender for a squad that has held its opponents to 95 factors per 100 possessions with him on the ground this season, in keeping with hooplens.com.
Though his staff amassed a 2-Three document via its first 5 convention video games, Trammell — the WAC’s main scorer — has averaged 24.Eight PPG, whereas connecting on 50% of his pictures from past the arc and 79% of his free throws in league play so far. Plus, Seattle has made 52.4% of its pictures contained in the arc with Trammell on the ground, per hooplens.com, and 40.7% of those self same tries with out him.
Coming into the week, the 7-footer from Denmark was averaging 14.Eight PPG, 9.7 RPG and 1.2 BPG because the anchor of a Grand Canyon squad that hasn’t misplaced since Dec. 22. With Midtgaard within the paint, Grand Canyon has made 56.3% of its pictures contained in the arc in league play, whereas its convention opponents have related on simply 44.7% of their makes an attempt, per KenPom.
West Coast Convention
A key member of a Gonzaga staff with three gamers who might safe All-America honors, Timme’s manufacturing has shifted into one other gear for the reason that begin of convention play, which triggered averages of 19.Four PPG, 7.5 RPG and 1.1 BPG via the staff’s first 11 WCC video games whereas additionally main the convention with a 67% clip from the sphere. He additionally has scored 20 factors or extra in seven of his staff’s previous 9 video games.
High competitors: Corey Kispert, Gonzaga Bulldogs
You could possibly slide Jalen Suggs, the freshman savant and future lottery choose, in both spot on this race, however Kispert has been the king of consistency for Gonzaga, evidenced his 44% clip from the 3-point line in league play. The No. 1 staff in America has made 66% of its pictures contained in the arc this season and 39% of its 3-point makes an attempt with Kispert on the ground.