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Wooden Award Odds Check-In: Part II, The Preseason Favorites on the Outside Looking In

Drew Timme is one of five preseason favorites to have fallen significantly behind in the Wooden Award race. PIC: Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Take a look at the below graphic.

It's our House of College Hoops Preseason All-First Team. These five had some high expectations coming into the year; one came off a National Title game appearance, another was poised for a major rebound season after getting hurt last year, and one has already played this game...Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe won the award in 2022.

But now more than halfway into the season, oddly enough all five of them are on the outside looking in at both the Wooden Award, and our final All-First team that we'll release in April. It'll require some breakthrough games - some may say historic - to save their odds at being in the Wooden Award discussion.

Let's take a look at how the Preseason Favorites are shaping up in the Player of the Year category.

Odds courtesy of (as of Jan 24, 10p ET). Please bet responsibly; call 1-800-GAMBLER if you have a gambling problem.

Part II: The Preseason Favorites

Drew Timme - Gonzaga, Forward

Odds: +2000

For some - especially in the West Coast Conference - he's public enemy number one. For the Gonzaga Bulldogs, though, he's option a large margin. Drew Timme, who had rumblings of potentially entering the NBA Draft last year, declared with a simple "I'm Back" tweet that he'd return to Spokane for his final year of eligibility. Many thought he'd have a legitimate shot at National Player of the Year in 2022-23. And, make no mistake, he's had some excellent offensive games; good enough to position himself as Gonzaga's leading scorer (22+ PPG) with almost ten points of separation between the second-highest-outputting offensive player, Julian Strawther. Timme's chipped in almost 8 rebounds per game, too. Is that enough to even come close to the year that Zach Edey has put forward this season? Many say no...and unless Gonzaga becomes more consistent and avoids the shooting slumps they've been accustomed to so far this year, Timme may be out of contention here.

Oscar Tshiebwe - Kentucky, Forward

Odds: +3000

The reigning Wooden Award winner is still turning heads left and right at Kentucky...but his slow start may have dug him a hole to reprise the honor. He's still putting up insane numbers - 16+ PPG and 13+ RPG - and re-established himself as the best rebounder in college basketball, by far. He's also shown that he's the unquestionable leader of this Kentucky team. But unfortunately for him, the Wildcats haven't been as advertised this year - a few big wins on their resume, but a few primetime losses have Kentucky in a questionable spot as the SEC starts to heat up. How it plays out might very well dictate where Tshiebwe finishes in the overall Wooden rankings, so if you like Kentucky to turn it around, you might find some value in this play.

Marcus Sasser - Houston, Guard

Odds: +3500

Things were going well for Marcus Sasser last year...that is, until an injury sidelined him for the rest of the 2022 spring. His rebound year was expected to be a massive one, having a re-loaded group of freshmen around him and some returning role players in Jamal Shead and Tramon Mark. But somehow, Sasser's start - despite a 16+ PPG average - hasn't exactly been as advertised. He's not contributing much else to put him over the hump of the other candidates. The Wooden Award is a small slice of the pie for Marcus Sasser, and you can bet he'd rather be leading Houston to a national championship.

Trayce Jackson-Davis - Indiana, Forward

Odds: +4000

Make no mistake - TJD is probably an NBA talent, and has shown his raw athleticism shine through over the past few seasons. He is only getting better; he's registering a double-double per game (19+ PPG, 10+ RPG) and showing off with flashy, rim-rattling dunks. But even despite all this success, Indiana has struggled to show signs of consistency - they're one of the streakiest teams in the NCAA, and have been a tick behind in proving their value. Can you claim TJD's value to Indiana is more than Edey's is to Purdue? I simply do not think so.

Armando Bacot - North Carolina, Forward

Odds: +7000

Our Preseason Player of the Year might not even be the best player on his own team this year. Even though he's also racking up a double-double per game (17.9 PPG, 11.4 RPG), Armando Bacot isn't having the year college basketball pundits and NBA scouts thought he'd have. With the offense seemingly running through RJ Davis and Caleb Love, with a few good contributions from Leaky Black and Pete Nance, many believe Bacot has only hurt his NBA draft stock with this season. There's time for him to turn it around, but with North Carolina needing to ramp it up a bit to be a lock for an at-large bid, how much more can he do without sacrificing the rest of the offense's output?


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