Best awards candi Conference USA Gear shirtdate: Chet Holmgren, Freshman of the Year. The problem with Holmgren’s candidacy is he only has been the best freshman in the country for the past two months. The strength of his candidacy is that he’s not just been Colgate Raiders Jerseys the best freshman in that period, he’s b


It’s awards season, and we don’t just mean the Oscars.

As college basketball approaches the final week of its season, as well as the start of conference tournaments in such leagues as the Ohio Valley and ASUN, the conversation alights regarding which All-America candidate will stand alone as Player of the Year and which team’s boss might earn Coach of the Year.

MORE: Projecting the Field of 68 for the 2022 NCAA Tournament

It’s a lot more fun to debate those topics than to discuss whether someone’s suspension was quite long enough, right?

So here are this week’s power rankings, spiced with each team’s best candidate to earn individual honors: 

1. Gonzaga (23-2, 12-0 WCC)

Best awards candidate: Chet Holmgren, Freshman of the Year. The problem with Holmgren’s candidacy is he only has been the best freshman in the country for the past two months. The strength of his candidacy is that he’s not just been Colgate Raiders Jerseys the best freshman in that period, he’s been the best player. In the calendar year 2022, Holmgren is averaging 16 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, 62.7 shooting from the field and 52.2 percent from long range.

2. Arizona (24-2, 14-1 Pac-12)

Best awards candidate: Tommy Lloyd, Coach of the Year. There can be no doubt that Lloyd walked into an ideal situation. Five of his top six scorers were on last season’s team, which played without much verve but no motivation College Lacrosse Jerseys because Arizona was serving an NCAA Baylor Bears Jerseys postseason ban. Lloyd has brought out the star quality of guard Benn Mathurin and the shot-blocking dominance of Christian Koloko. To get a picture of how much Lloyd and his staff have improved that quintet, consider their combined scoring averages have increased by 61 percent, even though their minutes have gone up only 21 percent.

3. Kentucky (23-5, 12-3 SEC)

Best awards candidate: Oscar Tshiebwe, Player of the Year. No Division I player since 1980 has matched Oscar’s 15.5 rebounds per game, and that includes Blake Griffin, Paul Millsap and Tim Duncan. Tshiebwe is at the heart of a UK defense whose primary point guard is only 5-9, 180 pounds and that has no regular wings with the size and dynamism that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Hamidou Diallo once provided — and still UK ranks in the top 25 in defensive efficiency.

4. Auburn (25-3, 13-2 SEC)

Best awards candidate: Walker Kessler, Defensive Player of the Year. Auburn blocks a greater percentage of opponents’ shots than any team in the nation, according to, and there is no better reason than Kessler. He has blossomed since transferring from North Carolina, where the Heels were overloaded with bigs his freshman year, and into the starting lineup. He has produced 11 games of six blocks more more, including two in double digits, and four with at least a dozen rebounds. He leads the nation with 4.56 blocks per game.

5. Duke (24-4, 13-3 ACC)

Best awards candidate: Paulo Banchero, Freshman of the Year. Banchero has cooled a bit since a torrid first three months, perhaps hitting a bit of a freshman wall. He still is not far from averaging a double-double and is a versatile offensive player who can score at a Conference USA Gear shirt ll three levels — and excels at getting to the foul line, where he converts at a 77 percent rate.

6. Kansas (23-4, 12-2 Big 12)

Best awards candidate: Ochai Agbaji, Player of the Year. Agbaji remains on track to finish with a 20-point scoring average, something only 2017 Player of the Year Frank Mason and 2005 first-team All-American Wayne Simien have achieved under Bill Self. Agbaji is shooting better than 50 percent from the field and better than 44 percent from deep. After an early February dip, he has torn off three consecutive 20-point games.

7. Chaminade University Silverswords clothes Purdue (24-4, 13-4 Big Ten)

Best awards candidate: Jaden Ivey, All-America. Ivey is one of the most electric players in basketball, and that is not a sentence that constricts him merely to NCAA Division I. We’re talking about a player who, when he crosses the NBA Draft stage to shake hands with Adam Silver, will instantly become one of th Florida vs. Georgia Rivalry Shirts e league’s most dynamic players. Maybe what the dunk contest needs is a little more Jaden. For the Boilers, he is nearly unguardable and has taken on playmaking duties in addition to providing a steady source of scoring.

8. Texas Tech (22-6, 11-4 Big 12)

Best awards candidate: Mark Adams, Coach of the Year. In his first year as a head coach at the high major level, after a career spent in junior colleges and smaller four-year programs, Adams’ expertise for teaching defense has the Raiders No. 1 in the nation in defensive efficiency, competing for a high-end NCAA Tournament seed and near the top of the Big 12 race.

9. Baylor (23-5, 11-4 Big 12)

Best awards candidate: Scott Drew, Coach of the Year. Drew never has gotten a huge amount of recognition for his coaching skill, but he did bring an NCAA championship trophy to Waco. And from that 2020-21 team, he lost his entire three-man backcourt and the muscular forward, Mark Vital, who made his defense work. And still the Bears are 23-5, 11-4 and fighting for a shot at the Big 12 title.

10. Tennessee (20-7, 11-4 SEC)

Best awards candidate: Kennedy Chandler, Freshman of the Year. In a year light on outstanding true point guards, Chandler stands out as someone equally adept at creating opportunities for himself and for teammates. He averages 4.8 assists per game and has broken out in the past month, with 10 assists in a win at South Carolina, 17 points, five rebounds and six assists in a home win over Kentucky and 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists at Missour Notre Dame vs. USC Rivalry Gear i.

11. Illinois (19-7, 12-4 Big Ten)

Best awards candidate: Kofi Cockburn, Player of the Year. A suspension at the start of the year and a concussion in the middle has interrupted his pursuit of one of the many Player of the Year trophies — but so have the two and three defenders he sees when nearly every entry pass arrives. Cockburn still averages 21.2 points and 11.7 rebounds.

12. Wisconsin (22-5, 13-4 Big Ten)

Best awards candidate: Johnny Davis, Player of the Year. At this point, he stands with Tshiebwe as one of the two leading contenders, but Agbaji and Cockburn are firmly in the picture. It will not be an easy decision, and Davis is making it tougher with averages of 20.6 points and 8.3 rebounds and a current surge that included a 30-point trip to Indiana and a 25-point masterpiece against Michigan that was overshadowed by the postgame melee that got Wolverines coach Juwan Howard suspended for five games. Davis stayed clear of that, making it clear afterward he has his sights on bigger goals than prevailing in a show of machismo.

MORE: Calls for Juwan Howard to be fired are way over the line

13. Arkansas (22-6, 11-4 SEC)

Best awards candidate: Eric Musselman, Coach of the Year. After a stretch that included five losses in six games between December and early January, the Razorbacks appeared to be headed toward the bottom of the SEC. It was fun last year, when they made the Elite Eight, but so much was lost from that team, and this one appeared to be headed nowhere. They’re 12-1 since. Musselman stuck with his plan, and the team came around.

14. UCLA (20-5, 12-4 Pac-12)

Best awards candidate: Jaime Jacquez, Julius Erving Award. This award is presented by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to the nation’s best small forward. Jacquez is really more UCLA’s power forward, but this is not a bad spot for him, because the toughness he shows in averaging 12 points and 5.4 rebounds while shooting better than 46 percent from the floor — all while playing for several weeks on sore ankles — makes him a strong contender.

15. Ohio State (18-7, 11-5 Big Big Ten)

Best awards candidate: EJ Liddell, Player of the Year. If there were an award for most versatile player in college basketball, this guy wins easy. He affects games in so many ways: as an inside scorer (55 percent on 2-point attempts), deep shooter (39.6 percent), rebounder (7.5 per game) and shot-blocker (2.5). Liddell and the Buckeyes seem always to save their least performances for showcase opportunities, such as on network TV against Iowa, but then he barges into Illinois and is the best player on a floor that includes Kofi Cockburn. Liddell may yet find a way to show everyone that he’s one of the very best players of the season.

16. Providence (23-3, 13-2 Big East)

Best awards candid Alcorn State Braves clo NCAA Spirit Jerseys thes ate: Ed Cooley, Coach of the Year. It’s been strange to hear Cooley mentioned as an afterthought in so many national media award discussions. Cooley’s squad was picked to finish seventh in the conference, and with good reason given the apparent talent on hand, but needs only one more victory to assure a first-ever Big East regular-season championship. Remember, PC has been there since the beginning of the league. The Friars were the first team in; Dave Gavitt Kentucky vs. Louisville Rivalry shirt said: OK, we’re in, now who else wants to join? And now, after 43 years, Cooley could deliver a title. That’s COY stuff, no doubt.

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