- Duke freshman center Vernon Carey Jr. is a +350 favorite to win AP National Player of the Year
- Carey has scored at least 17 points in 10 of his first 14 games and shot at least 50 percent in 13 straight.
- Michigan State senior guard Cassius Winston has averaged 23.3 points and 7.0 assists in his last four games.
Duke’s Vernon Carey is now a +350 favorite to win the AP National Player of the Year award while Michigan State’s Cassius Winston has been given +400 odds.
The Blue Devils freshman is averaging 18.4 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots in just 23.6 minutes a game, while shooting 62.8 percent on field goals and 57.1 percent on 3-pointers. Duke is 13-1 and ranked second in the latest AP poll behind Gonzaga.
Winston, a senior guard, has averages of 18.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 31.1 minutes. He is shooting 44.1 percent from the floor and 38.1 percent from 3-point range. Michigan State is 12-3 and ranked eighth.
AP National Player of the Year Odds
|Vernon Carey Jr. (Duke)||+350|
|Cassius Winston (Michigan State)||+400|
|Jordan Nwora (Louisville)||+650|
|Obi Toppin (Dayton)||+700|
|Devon Dotson (Kansas)||+900|
|Markus Howard (Marquette)||+900|
|Payton Pritchard (Oregon)||+900|
|Myles Powell (Seton Hall)||+1000|
|Caleb Wesson (Ohio State)||+1000|
|Malachi Flynn (San Diego State)||+1200|
|Luka Garza (Iowa)||+1200|
|Filip Petrusev (Gonzaga)||+1200|
Odds taken Jan. 6
Carey is Mr. Consistency
In a 95-62 road win Saturday night over Miami – which happens to be his hometown – Carey scored 24 points in 25 minutes on 11 of 14 shooting. That came after he had a season-low nine points in 20 minutes – also a season-low – in an 88-49 dismantling of visiting Boston College on New Year’s Eve.
Carey has scored in double figures in 13 of 14 games and recorded at least 17 points on 10 occasions. He also has eight double-doubles, including a streak of seven straight from Nov. 12th-Dec. 3rd.
Carey is 18th in the nation in field-goal percentage. The only game in which he did not shoot at least 50 percent was in his college debut Nov. 5th, a 68-66 victory over Kansas in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.
Other Factors Favor Carey
Furthermore, Carey ranks highly in many of the advanced metrics at KenPom.com. He is third in the nation in fouls drawn (8.0 percent), 15th in defensive rebounding percentage (28.9) and 49th in block percentage (8.6).
Playing for a national powerhouse like Duke, Carey will get maximum exposure is his bid to become Player of the Year. The Blue Devils have 17 games remaining in the regular season and at least eight of those Atlantic Coast Conference games will be televised nationally by ESPN, including matchups with Louisville, Miami, Syracuse, North Carolina (twice), Florida State and North Carolina State (twice).
Winston Coming On Strong
Like Carey, Winston also began 2020 with a statement game. He scored a career-high 32 points and dished out nine assists – having a hand in 20 his team’s 28 field goals – as Michigan State downed visiting Michigan 87-69 on Sunday, the Spartans seventh straight win.
Winston is coning on strong after a slow start to the season. He has been playing with a heavy heart for nearly two months following the death of his younger brother Zachary, who was struck by a train.
Winston had just nine points of 3-of-13 shooting in a 72-49 win at Oakland on Dec. 14. He also made only one of nine 3-point attempts in 29 minutes.
Afterward, Winston admitted that he had understandably been playing distracted and didn’t feel like attending practice on some days. However, he has performed like one of the country’s premier players in the four games since, averaging 23.3 points and 7.0 assists.
Winston is a known commodity to the voters as he is in his fourth season of playing in a high-profile program in the Big Ten. Michigan State will also get plenty of exposure as at least 11 of their last 16 games will be on national TV.
In the KenPom.com stats, Winston is 14th nationally with a 40.0 assist rate.
Others to Watch
Louisville junior forward Jordan Nwora is third choice for Player of the Year and Dayton sophomore forward Obi Toppin is fourth. Both are deserving candidates.
Nwora is averaging 21.0 points and 7.4 rebounds a game for Louisville, which is 11-3 and ranked 13th. Toppin has played a big role in Dayton getting off to a surprising 13-2 start and No. 15 ranking as he has averages of 19.5 points and 7.7 rebounds.
3-time A-10 ?????? ?? ??? ???? ? @otoppin1 with authority!!
— Dayton Basketball (@DaytonMBB) January 6, 2020
Carey is justifiably the favorite to win Player of the Year and at +350 is worth it for chalk players.
A player who provides value is Iowa’s Luka Garza at +1200. The 6-foot-11 center is averaging a double-double with 22.5 points and 10.1 rebounds for a Hawkeyes team that is 10-4 and seems capable of making noise in the Big Ten.
Furthermore, Garza is taking 33.5 percent of Iowa’s shot, which ranks 29th nationally. That assures he will put up some big numbers all season.
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