Handicapping participant of the yr races is all the time a troublesome job. However in a season stuffed with paused applications and unequal league slates because of COVID-19 challenges, it has by no means been more durable to determine the highest candidates in every faculty 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 listing of potential participant of the yr candidates is lengthy and considerable with potentialities.
Bear in mind, all of this might change within the closing weeks of the season, however we predict it is 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 prime seed within the NCAA match. He has been a 38% 3-point shooter in league play and has averaged 15.8 factors per recreation and 6.0 rebounds per recreation.
After coach Gregg Marshall was dismissed in November following stories that he had hit a former participant and choked a coach on his employees, 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, 5.0 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.
It is a Duke staff that was doubtless headed towards a postseason conclusion with out an NCAA match look lengthy earlier than Jalen Johnson’s choice 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 photographs 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
Entrance-runner: Ryan Davis, Vermont Catamounts
Because of 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.
High competitors: Brandon Horvath, UMBC Retrievers
He’s averaging 14.8 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 is likely to be one half of a compelling America East match title recreation.
Atlantic 10 Convention
Entrance-runner: Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland, VCU Rams
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.
High competitors: Jalen Crutcher, Dayton Flyers
Final season, Crutcher was considered one of Obi Toppin’s key teammates as the long run New York Knick was pushing towards the Wood Award. This season, Crutcher is averaging 19.3 PPG in league play for a Dayton squad preventing to get into the league’s prime tier. He additionally has linked 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
Entrance-runner: Pedro Bradshaw, Bellarmine Knights
Considered one of faculty 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 very important for this system, averaging 15.4 PPG and hitting at a 38% clip from the three line.
High competitors: Blake Preston, Liberty Flames
They cannot all be Bellarmine, however Liberty has solely misplaced one recreation since Jan. 1. And Preston, a 6-foot-9 middle, is nailing photographs contained in the arc at a 55% price in league play.
Huge East Convention
Entrance-runner: Collin Gillespie, Villanova Wildcats
It looks like Gillespie has performed on each Villanova staff that is ever gained a nationwide title, however the senior is the principle occasion for a Wildcats program that’s — shock, shock — the highest staff within the Huge East and among the best squads in America. He’s averaging 18.0 PPG and 5.4 APG in league play up to now.
High competitors: Sandro Mamukelashvili, Seton Corridor Pirates
Mamukelashvili (13.6 PPG, 7.2 RPG) has been one of many essential components 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.
Huge Sky Convention
Entrance-runner: Tanner Groves, Jap Washington Eagles
Groves is averaging 19.3 PPG and eight.2 RPG, each top-three marks within the Huge Sky, the place Jap Washington entered the week in first place at 9-2 in league play. He is also the league’s chief in discipline aim price (61%).
High competitors: Ethan Esposito, Sacramento State Hornets
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 in a position to lead Sacramento State into rivalry. However the environment friendly 6-foot-7 submit participant averaging 18.8 PPG is doing every part he can to get this system above .500 in league play by season’s finish.
Huge South Convention
Entrance-runner: Davion Warren, Hampton Pirates
He’s placing up 24.4 PPG in league play for the Pirates, an effort that has helped Hampton keep a spot within the aggressive league’s prime tier. Hampton has made 50% of its photographs contained in the arc with Warren on the ground and 37% when he’s on the bench.
High competitors: Chandler Vaudrin, Winthrop Eagles
The Uniontown, Ohio, native has been an actual increase 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.0 RPG in league play for a Winthrop squad that would clinch the league’s title this week.
Huge 12 Convention
Entrance-runner: Jared Butler, Baylor Bears
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 considered one of two undefeated groups within the nation. Butler has made 45% of his 3 makes an attempt in Huge 12 motion, and he has proved to be considered one of America’s prime two-way gamers on a staff that would win its first nationwide championship this season.
High competitors: Derek Culver, West Virginia Mountaineers
He’s averaging a double-double for the season — 15.1 PPG and 10.4 RPG — for a West Virginia squad with a possibility to make numerous noise within the NCAA match. In Saturday’s 91-90 double-overtime loss to Oklahoma, Culver made 13 of 23 photographs contained in the arc.
Huge Ten Convention
Entrance-runner: Luka Garza, Iowa Hawkeyes
The Wood Award front-runner’s accuracy from the 3-point line — 34% in Huge 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 photographs contained in the arc and 41% of its 3 makes an attempt — Garza drawing further defenders each time he touches the ball helps — when the massive man is on the ground.
High competitors: Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois Preventing Illini
Dosunmu (20.3 PPG, 40% from the three line) is likely to be Garza’s fiercest competitors for the Wood Award and Huge Ten participant of the yr honors. His 31-point effort in Thursday’s 77-72 time beyond regulation win in opposition to Nebraska was simply one other unbelievable alternative for Illinois, which has gained 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.
Huge West Convention
Entrance-runner: JaQuori McLaughlin, UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
In case you’re a UC Santa Barbara fan, you do not know what it is wish 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 3 makes an attempt, one other part of his staff’s present eight-game successful streak.
High competitors: Collin Welp, UC Irvine Anteaters
Welp, a primary staff all-Huge West performer a yr 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
Entrance-runner: Matt Lewis, James Madison Dukes
Lewis has made 60% of his photographs on the rim and 41% of his bounce photographs contained in the arc, per hoop-math.com. He is also averaging 17.7 PPG and 1.8 SPG in league play for a James Madison squad that entered the week in first place within the CAA.
High competitors: Tyson Walker, Northeastern Huskies
He’s maybe the league’s most versatile risk, main the league in steals (2.5 per recreation) whereas averaging 19.3 PPG. 4 CAA squads have didn’t register 60 or extra factors in opposition to Northeastern, the highest defensive staff within the convention, with Walker’s effort on protection.
Entrance-runner: Charles Bassey, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
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, 12.0 RPG and a couple of.9 blocks per recreation.
High competitors: Taevion Kinsey, Marshall Thundering Herd
Kinsey is averaging 19.5 PPG, second within the league, for a Thundering Herd program that has gained 5 of its previous six contests. He additionally is without doubt one of the league’s best threats: 80% from the free throw line, 53% taking pictures from contained in the arc and 46% from the three line.
Entrance-runner: Antoine Davis, Detroit Mercy Titans
It will likely be troublesome 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.
High competitors: Loudon Love, Wright State Raiders
Scott Nagy’s staff entered the week ranked sixtieth within the NET rankings and fifty fifth 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 17.4 PPG and connecting on 57% of his photographs contained in the arc in league play.
Entrance-runner: Deion Hammond, Monmouth Hawks
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 16.8 PPG by 14 contests for a staff that’s 10-4 in league play, and that has to rely for one thing.
High competitors: Isaiah Ross, Iona Gaels
Rick Pitino’s squad has been hit laborious by COVID-19, which has prompted a number of delays. So whereas Ross, who’s averaging 18.7 PPG and connecting on 47% of his 3-pointers by six league video games, is within the combine for participant of the yr, we simply have not seen sufficient to completely decide him but.
Entrance-runner: Loren Cristian Jackson, Akron Zips
Considered one of America’s pound-for-pound standouts, the 5-foot-8 guard from Chicago has scored 30 factors or extra in 4 league video games up to now. The senior, who’s averaging 20.8 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.
High competitors: Danny Pippen, Kent State Golden Flashes
The league’s chief in scoring (21.8 PPG) can also be averaging 10.0 RPG and 1.4 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 time beyond regulation loss to Virginia in December.
Entrance-runner: MJ Randolph, Florida A&M Rattlers
He’s eleventh within the nation in proportion of minutes performed on KenPom. However the high-usage tasks haven’t slowed the 6-foot-4 junior from Pensacola, Florida, who’s averaging 14.8 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 6.0 APG and a couple of.2 SPG in league play.
High competitors: Blake Harris, North Carolina A&T Aggies
Harris, a former ESPN top-100 prospect, made stops at Missouri and NC State, earlier than transferring to North Carolina A&T final yr. After sitting out final season, he has helped Will Jones’ squad win its first 4 video games in MEAC play, averaging 14.0 PPG.
Missouri Valley Convention
Entrance-runner: Cameron Krutwig, Loyola Chicago Ramblers
Three years after serving to his staff make a miraculous run to the Last 4 in 2018, Krutwig is now a official candidate for All-American honors after averaging 15.0 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.0 BPG and 1.0 SPG up to now. He is also a key participant for No. 22 Loyola Chicago on protection, the place the staff is at present first in adjusted effectivity on KenPom.
High competitors: Gaige Prim, Missouri State Bears
Whereas the basketball world’s focus centered on the collision course of Drake and Loyola Chicago, which cut 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 15.0 PPG (60% clip contained in the arc) and 9.2 RPG in league play.
Mountain West Convention
Entrance-runner: Neemias Queta, Utah State Aggies
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 power who’s averaging 12.4 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 3.0 APG and three.8 BPG in convention play for the highest staff within the league.
High competitors: Grant Sherfield, Nevada Wolf Pack
The sophomore level guard on Steve Alford’s squad is averaging 20.5 PPG throughout the four-game successful streak the staff had put collectively getting 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.
Entrance-runner: Damian Chong Qui, Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers
The junior guard, who just 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 linked on 57% of his assisted spot-up makes an attempt, per Synergy Sports activities knowledge.
High competitors: Alex Morales, Wagner Seahawks
Morales has scored 20 factors or extra in 5 NEC matchups up to now. 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
Entrance-runner: Terry Taylor, Austin Peay Governors
The convention’s chief in scoring (22.2 PPG) and rebounding (11.2 RPG) is also the explanation Austin Peay must be a classy decide to win the OVC match subsequent month. With Taylor’s submit presence, it is 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.)
High competitors: Nick Muszynski, Belmont Bruins
He’s the chief of a Belmont squad that has gained 19 consecutive video games. Casey Alexander’s squad had made 62% of its photographs contained in the arc and 38% of its 3 makes an attempt with Muszynski on the ground this season, per hooplens.com.
Entrance-runner: Evan Mobley, USC Trojans
Mobley has justified all the NBA buzz — he’s listed because the projected No. 2 decide in ESPN.com’s newest mock draft — with an unbelievable efficiency that does not simply stand out amongst freshmen. He’s one of the best participant on one of the best staff within the Pac-12, as evidenced by his 60% clip contained in the arc in league play up to now. Because the race for the Pac-12 crown has intensified, Mobley (16.6 PPG, 9.0 RPG and three.1 BPG) has simply elevated his effort and execution.
High competitors: Oscar da Silva, Stanford Cardinal
The 6-foot-9 star from Munich, Germany, has made a outstanding 69% of his photographs on the rim this season, per hoop-math.com. And Stanford has made 55% of its photographs contained in the arc with da Silva (19.2 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.1 BPG) on the ground.
Entrance-runner: Jordan Burns, Colgate Raiders
The guard from San Antonio is averaging 17.5 PPG, 5.3 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 getting into the week.
High competitors: Justin Jaworski, Lafayette Leopards
Jaworski leads the convention with 21.8 PPG and in addition is averaging 1.7 SPG in league play. Lafayette has made 51% of its photographs contained in the arc with Jaworski on the ground and 42% of those self same makes an attempt with out him.
Entrance-runner: Cameron Thomas, LSU Tigers
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 25.0 PPG (10-for-17 contained in the arc) in back-to-back wins over Mississippi State and Tennessee, each by 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. 8 seed in Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology.
High competitors: Tre Mann, Florida Gators
Mann has been a essential participant for a program that needed to climate the absence of Keyontae Johnson, who just 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. 3 pause, it had gained 4 of its earlier 5 video games as Mann (14.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.8 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 troublesome season for Mike White’s program.
Entrance-runner: Isaiah Miller, UNC Greensboro Spartans
Miller, a senior and the reigning Southern Convention participant of the yr and defensive participant of the yr, has maintained his dominance. He entered the week within the prime 10 in scoring (18.3 PPG), rebounding (7.2 RPG) and assists (3.4 APG) for the highest staff within the convention. The 2-way risk is also main the convention in steals (2.6 SPG).
High competitors: Storm Murphy, Wofford Terriers
You would not be stunned if coach Jay McAuley instructed you Murphy was driving the staff’s bus to away video games, as a result of Murphy appears to be doing every part 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.
Entrance-runner: Gavin Kensmil, Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
Kensmil, who’s averaging 16.4 PPG and seven.7 RPG in league motion, has performed a major 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 photographs contained in the arc in league play.
High competitors: Kolton Kohl, Abilene Christian Wildcats
Different gamers on this league have larger numbers, however few have matched the influence Kohl (13.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.4 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.
Entrance-runner: Max Abmas, Oral Roberts Golden Eagles
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 by any participant within the nation. Abmas is averaging 25.5 PPG in convention play. The nation’s No. 2 total scorer within the nation, behind Luka Garza, Abmas (23.2 PPG) additionally has linked on 44% of his 3s and 90% of his free throws in Summit League motion.
High competitors: Baylor Scheierman, South Dakota State Jackrabbits
Though his teammate Douglas Wilson was the league’s preseason participant of the yr, Scheierman has emerged as essentially the most pivotal participant for a South Dakota State squad in third place within the league’s standings getting into the week. Scheierman is averaging 15.3 PPG and connecting on 39% of his 3s in convention motion, whereas additionally main the league in rebounding (10.8 per recreation) and assists (5.0 per recreation).
Solar Belt Convention
Entrance-runner: Michael Flowers, South Alabama Jaguars
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 total this season with 25 factors or extra.
High competitors: DeVante’ Jones, Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
The 6-foot-1 guard has made Coastal Carolina — enjoying 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 accordance with Synergy Sports activities knowledge. In league play, he’s second in scoring (18.7 PPG), seventh in boards (7.0 RPG), sixth in discipline aim price (45.2%) and fourth in free throw price (90%).
Entrance-runner: Tristan Jarrett, Jackson State Tigers
Whereas COVID-19 problems had restricted his staff to simply six league video games getting into the week (some SWAC groups had performed as many as 12), Jarrett has lived as much as the hype hooked up to his title when he was picked because the league’s preseason participant of the yr. He’s averaging 22.2 PPG in league motion whereas making 50% of his photographs contained in the arc for an undefeated Jackson State squad that sits first within the league’s standings.
High competitors: Cam Mack, Prairie View A&M Panthers
The highest participant on the league’s different undefeated squad getting into the week is also main the convention in assists (9.2 per recreation) and assist-to-turnover ratio (3.4 to 1). Plus, Mack — a switch from Nebraska who’s fifth within the league at 14.2 PPG — is a vital defender for a squad that has held its opponents to 95 factors per 100 possessions with him on the ground this season, in accordance with hooplens.com.
Entrance-runner: Darrion Trammell, Seattle Redhawks
Though his staff amassed a 2-3 file by its first 5 convention video games, Trammell — the WAC’s main scorer — has averaged 24.8 PPG, whereas connecting on 50% of his photographs from past the arc and 79% of his free throws in league play up to now. Plus, Seattle has made 52.4% of its photographs contained in the arc with Trammell on the ground, per hooplens.com, and 40.7% of those self same tries with out him.
High competitors: Asbjorn Midtgaard, Grand Canyon Antelopes
Coming into the week, the 7-footer from Denmark was averaging 14.8 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 photographs contained in the arc in league play, whereas its convention opponents have linked on simply 44.7% of their makes an attempt, per KenPom.
West Coast Convention
Entrance-runner: Drew Timme, Gonzaga Bulldogs
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 because the begin of convention play, which triggered averages of 19.4 PPG, 7.5 RPG and 1.1 BPG by the staff’s first 11 WCC video games whereas additionally main the convention with a 67% clip from the sector. 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 might slide Jalen Suggs, the freshman savant and future lottery decide, in both spot on this race, however Kispert has been the king of consistency for Gonzaga, evidenced by his 44% clip from the 3-point line in league play. The No. 1 staff in America has made 66% of its photographs contained in the arc this season and 39% of its 3-point makes an attempt with Kispert on the ground.