College Basketball Wooden Award Watch: Oscar Tshiebwe & 3 Others in Serious Contention
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky)
The Wooden Award is still up for grabs with about a month left in the season. With four players in serious contention, we have seen the odds fluctuating on a weekly basis.
There are several factors that go into evaluating an individual award for the most outstanding player. Individual production is the most important criteria, but one must also consider the team’s overall success, as well as the player’s ability to perform on the biggest stage.
Below we look at the current odds (via DraftKings) and where the value lies.
|Kofi Cockburn (Illinois)||+500|
|Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky)||+500|
|Ochai Agbaji (Kansas)||+550|
|Johnny Davis (Wisconsin)||+750|
In terms of individual success all four of these guys have thrived this season.
After a ridiculous suspension that kept him out for the first three games of the season, Cockburn has been a monster. He’s averaging a double-double, with 22 points and 11 rebounds a contest, while hitting 60% from the field.
Cockburn has amounted a dozen double-doubles on the season.
The Illinois big man was unstoppable against Wisconsin, when he hit 16-of-19 from the field for 37 points and 12 boards.
Cockburn was priced at +1000 just two weeks ago, but has seen his odds continue to drop as he dominates Big Ten play.
Illinois is favored to win its final seven games of the season, and if Cockburn continues to bully defenders down low, he’s a real threat to take home the award.
After missing the boat at +1000, I will be laying off backing Cockburn to win the award at the current price of +500.
Tshiebwe has joined Cockburn as the betting favorite over the last two weeks.
He’s emerged as the top-ranked player in the KenPom Player of the Year standings.
Tshiebwe is putting up 16 points and an astonishing 15 rebounds per contest, which leads the country. He also leads the nation in offensive rebounds per game (5.1).
There’s no secret as to why Tshiebwe is one of the front runners to win the award. The 6-foot-9 forward is shooting 60% on the season and has grabbed 20+ rebounds in five games. He could be the first Division I player in nearly 40 years to average 15 points and 15 boards per game.
Six of Kentucky’s final seven games come against opponents that rank inside the KenPom top-50. He will have an opportunity to run away with this award by showing out for the final month of the season.
Agbaji was the betting favorite two weeks ago, but he’s since fallen to the third spot.
He’s a pure scorer who’s putting up 20 points per game and has been dynamite from beyond the arc, hitting 46% of his 147 3-point attempts this season.
The main red flag for Agbaji is his reliance on his perimeter shot. The Kansas guard has hit 33% from deep over the last three games and has averaged just 14 points. He’s just returning from the COVID protocols, and hasn’t looked like the same player who lit up Texas Tech for 37 points.
Kansas has some of the top defenses in the Big 12 remaining on its schedule, which could spell bad news for those hoping Agbaji lights up the box score.
Davis was higher on the board two weeks ago, but his odds have begun to plummet since then.
Davis is putting up 21 points per game while shooting 35% from downtown this season. He’s single-handily carried Wisconsin to a 19-4 record.
But over the last two weeks, Davis has had some dud performances. He went 5-for-19 from the field against Illinois, and followed that up by going 2-of-13 for just four points against Penn State.
Davis is reliant on his scoring to keep him in contention for the award. Some of his recent struggles have me thinking he won’t leapfrog the rest of the field.
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