Powell Favored To Win National Player Of The Year, Garza Close Behind

The college basketball season has one month left before the selection of teams for the 2020 NCAA Tournament. Where various teams fit into the postseason picture is beginning to emerge with moderately higher degrees of clarity with each passing week. Leaving the teams aside for a second, though, let’s take a look at the updated odds to win National Player of the Year. Myles Powell is favored but this race is still a toss-up.

MYLES POWELL, SETON HALL
POY ODDS: +400

It is true that Powell is not filling the stat sheet with huge numbers in rebounds or assists, but he is very clearly one of the very best scorers in the country. Powell is a gifted long-distance shooter and a player who loves getting the ball and making the big shot late in a game. Powell is averaging 22 points per game for the Seton Hall Pirates, standing out as the leader of a team which will not only make the NCAA Tournament, but could win the Big East Conference regular season championship. If Seton Hall does win the Big East, that will go a long way toward helping Powell’s candidacy. If Seton Hall falters down the stretch and is passed by either Villanova or Butler, then other players could overtake Powell for the lead, but right now, this is indeed his award to lose.

LUKA GARZA, IOWA HAWKEYES
POY ODDS: +500

The Iowa big man is averaging 23 points and 10 rebounds. A double-double average with over 20 points scored is very hard to ignore. Most people would reasonably conclude that if Powell falls off the pace in a meaningful way, or if Seton Hall struggles as a team over the next month, Garza is the player most likely to move into the top spot in the chase for this award. Iowa, if it can make a run at the Big Ten title, at least to the extent that it finishes in the top three, could help Garza out.

CASSIUS WINSTON, MICHIGAN STATE
POY ODDS: +600

It is true that Cassius Winston is one of the biggest names in college basketball, but he has not had a brilliant season. He lost a family member who was killed a few months ago. That has been weighing heavily on him. It has been a very difficult season on a personal level for Winston, who helped Michigan State reach the Final Four a year ago. The Spartans are not reaching last year’s form. They have lost two games in a row and are struggling to fend off their competitors in a very deep Big Ten Conference. Michigan State needs to get on a roll, and the Spartans need to win the Big Ten, for Winston to have a real chance here.

MARKUS HOWARD, MARQUETTE
POY ODDS: +700

It is true that Howard, alongside Powell in the Big East, is one of the two truly gifted pure scorers in college basketball. Howard is averaging 28 points per game, six more than Powell, but Marquette is in the middle tier of the Big East, whereas Seton Hall is a legitimate Final Four contender. Marquette has to make a big run for Howard to have a genuine shot at catching Powell.

OBI TOPPIN, DAYTON
POY ODDS: +700

The Dayton Flyers are seen as a Final Four threat. This is entirely due to the emergence of Toppin, who has substantially elevated his level of performance from his freshman season a year ago. Toppin is averaging 20 points and eight rebounds per game, giving Dayton a game-changing presence at both ends of the floor. The Flyers have competed well with elite teams such as Kansas this season. Toppin probably won’t win this award, but if he leads Dayton to a No. 1 seed, which isn’t entirely impossible, he could make a strong case.

PEYTON PRITCHARD, OREGON
POY ODDS: +700

The senior Oregon guard is carrying the Ducks this year. More than the raw stats, Pritchard is hitting all the big shots for this team to rescue it in moments of crisis. On the year, he’s contributing 19.6 points per game with 5.8 assists and 4.3 rebounds. If Oregon wins the Pac-12 title and a lot of other things break right for Pritchard, he could finish in the top three of the voting.

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