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March Madness has finally arrived, so get ready to fill out your brackets, place your bets, and watch seemingly endless amounts of college basketball.
One of the most popular NCAA Tournament props is betting on the Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four. Over the past few seasons, the last three recipients have been Ochai Agbaji, Jared Butler, and Kyle Guy.
Who will be this year’s winner of the Most Outstanding Player award? Check out the list of favorites below to see our favorites picks to bring it home.
Odds taken from Unibet Sportsbook.
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Many players have a shot at winning the award, and there are plenty of them that you can bet on before the NCAA Tournament begins. The players we will cover below include Marcus Sasser, Zach Edey, Drew Timme, Brandon Miller, and Jalen Wilson.
All-American guard Marcus Sasser is the best player on the best team (Houston); this formula has fared well for futures bettors in the past. Recent examples of betting on the best player on a No. 1-seeded team have been Kyle Guy, Jared Butler, and Ochai Agbaji, the past three winners.
Sasser is one of the most talented pure scorers in college, regardless of position, age, or height; he can get to his spot and hit tough, contested shots repeatedly. What is more impressive is his ability to hit those shots at a high percentage, as his season shooting split is 44/38/84, a fantastic mark for a high-volume scorer.
Sasser could lead the Houston Cougars to a National Championship, but his recent groin injury status has been kept close to the vest. He is not guaranteed to play in the Round of 64, but hopes are that he will be fine. As long as he is healthy, he deserves to be the favorite, especially considering that the Cougars subjectively have one of the easiest paths to the Final Four and the best team odds to win.
If Purdue is able to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, it will undoubtedly be due to its dominant 7-foot-4 center, Zach Edey. Edey has averaged 22.3 points and 12.8 rebounds on a stunning 60.6% shooting from the field; he also shoots 76% from the free-throw line, a terrific mark for a traditional big man.
Further, he holds the second-highest PER (player efficiency rating) in college basketball in a single year since the beginning of the 2009-10 season. Edey’s dominance extends beyond just obvious statistics on a stat sheet; he is the focal point of an offense while being heavily relied upon to crash the glass on both ends and contest every shot inside the paint.
The Boilermakers have a difficult path to a Final Four, potentially having to go through the Duke Blue Devils, Memphis Tigers, and Marquette Golden Eagles; however, if they can get through that gauntlet, he has more than a good chance of winning the Most Outstanding Player award in the Final Four.
One of the most decorated collegiate players in the recent past is forward Drew Timme. Timme played on one of the best teams in college basketball history: the 2020-21 Gonzaga Bulldogs, who were undefeated before losing in the National Championship game to Baylor.
Timme’s career averages are an eye-popping 17.0 points and 6.6 rebounds on a 62.6% effective field goal percentage; he averages close to 21 points and seven rebounds per game this season on a Gonzaga team that ranks first in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency.
Timme’s odds of winning the Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four are as long as they are for a straightforward reason: Gonzaga’s defense. The Bulldogs have been relatively atrocious on that end of the floor, and if they were even remotely as good defensively as in previous seasons, he would be hovering around +700 or +800.
Ultimately, his chances of winning this award revolve around Gonzaga’s ability to ramp up its effort and IQ on the defensive end.
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Miller might be the best offensive player in the entire nation, including Zach Edey, Trayce Jackson-Davis, and others. His ability to score at all three levels and utilize his size and length to shoot over and around defenders at an incredibly high percentage makes him not only dangerous but transcendent, too.
Teams that have not seen Miller all season can prepare for him on paper and in practice, but once you are defending a 6-foot-9 forward with guard skills somewhere in the vein of Paul George, all that goes out the window.
Alabama is the overall No. 1 seed and has a fairly simply path to the Elite Eight. Then, things will get challenging, but Miller has proven to be clutch time and time again this season, despite being a freshman.
Imagine another National Championship run for the Kansas Jayhawks, this time led by All-American Jalen Wilson, who has turned into an elite primary scoring option for a team with the strongest NCAA Tournament resume.
Wilson’s inside-out offensive play, mixed with superb athleticism and phenomenal scoring prowess, makes him an ideal candidate for the Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four if Kansas were to repeat. Further, he helps anchor the Jayhawks’ top-tier defense that ranks seventh in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency.
Despite having 17 Quad 1 wins, Kansas didn’t pull the overall No. 1 seed, but its path to the Final Four is still manageable and Wilson is capable of carrying this team far.
Ochai Agbaji won the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player in last season’s Final Four. Agbaji posted 21 points on 6-7 shooting from behind the arc against Villanova, and then scored 12 points in the NCAA Championship game against North Carolina.
He shot the ball incredibly efficiently in the Final Four, which led to a National Championship for the Kansas Jayhawks.
The Most Outstanding Player award is given to the Final Four’s MVP; it is decided by a media panel after the conclusion of the NCAA Championship game.
The award has existed since 1939 and there have been 12 seasons where a non-championship-winning player was selected as the Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four. Ochai Agbaji is the most recent winner of the award, while Jared Butler and Kyle Guy won it the prior two seasons.
Glen Rice holds the record for the most points scored in a single NCAA Tournament, finishing March Madness with a shocking 184 points in six games. Rice led Michigan to a National Championship in 1989. The most points per game of any player in a single NCAA Tournament belongs to Notre Dame’s Austin Carr in 1970, though, as he posted an astonishing 52.7 points per game in three games.
Yes, this has happened a dozen times in the long history of the NCAA Tournament. Hakeem Olajuwon won the Most Outstanding Player award in the 1983 Final Four, but no losing player has won it since then. At this point, it would take multiple substantial performances from a player on a losing team to win the award. Olajuwon is a tough act to follow for any award at any level.
There have been a few men’s basketball players who have won the award multiple times, including Bob Kurland (twice), Alex Grosa (twice), Jerry Lucas (twice), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (three times), and Bill Walton (twice.) Walton last won the award in 1973, so it has been 50 years since the last player won back-to-back Most Outstanding Player awards.
For the women, Cheryl Miller (twice), Chamique Holdsclaw (twice), Diana Taurasi (twice), Candace Parker (twice), and Breanna Stewart (four times) are the only multi-time winners of the NCAA Most Outstanding Player award.
Andrew has always been an avid sports fan and followed his hoop dreams all the way to college. He’s well-versed in everything betting with multiple years of experience and is qualitatively and quantitatively knowledgeable in sports statistics and analytics.More info on Andrew Norton
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