Advertisement

Maybe the race for the award isn't over

From ESPN - February 15, 2018

To this point, there is no question as to who has been the most impressive player during the college basketball season: Oklahoma freshman guard Trae Young.

The nation's leader in both scoring (29.1 points per game) and assists (9.3), Young is the clear favorite for the Wooden Award. Two weeks ago, it seemed like he was a virtual lock and the final two months of the season would serve as somewhat of a send-off party before his inevitable leap to the NBA.

But even then, after Young scored 44 points in a 98-96 win against Baylor on Jan. 30, there were signs that Oklahoma might not be much of a factor come March. The Sooners lost three of four going into that win after peaking at No. 9 in the AP poll and have since lost four straight to fall into a fifth-place tie with Baylor in the Big 12 at 6-7.

The Sooners' poor run is not in spite of brilliance from Young, either. He's still scoring at a high clip, but in the four-game skid he has made just 7 of 41 3-point attempts and committed 23 turnovers.

In the past 20 years, only one Wooden Award winner has come from a team with double-digit losses -- Texas was 25-10 when Kevin Durant won it in 2007. In that same span, every winner's team won at least one game in the NCAA tournament and all but two advanced past the tournament's opening weekend.

In ESPN's latest Bracketology, which came out before Oklahoma lost to Texas Tech on Tuesday, the Sooners were listed as a No. 5 seed, but it's not inconceivable for the Sooners not to make the tournament. Say they lose three of their remaining regular-season games and bow out in the first round of the Big 12 tournament. At 18-13, they would be firmly on the bubble and if they get left out, Young's shot at winning the Wooden would be a break from history.

So, if the Sooners lose him out of contention, who would have a real chance at winning?

Right now, that's anybody's guess, but here are a few possibilities -- and it will likely be decided more by what happens over the rest of the season.

The draft darlings

Stock up

Stock down

Advertisement

Continue reading at ESPN »