Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 3/8/13
The Big Ten is the nation’s premier basketball conference this season, with five ranked teams and three in the top 10: Indiana, Michigan and Michigan State. Thus it’s not surprising that a Big Ten star is the Bovada favorite to win the Associated Press Player of the Year award this season: Wolverines sophomore guard Trey Burke at 7-4. Michigan has had some terrific players in its history, including Chris Webber and Glen Rice most recently. But the school hasn’t had a national Player of the Year in 47 seasons (Cazzie Russell). Burke, considered the nation’s top point guard, appears poised to change that. He is among the nation’s assist-to-turnover ratio leaders at 3.6, leads the Big Ten in assists (6.9 per game) and is No. 2 in scoring (18.9). He has a shot at becoming the first Big Ten point guard since a guy named Magic Johnson to average at least 18 points and seven assists per game. The irony of Burke is that he’s from Columbus, home to Michigan’s most hated rival, Ohio State. The Player of the Year award could be decided Sunday when No. 7 Michigan hosts No. 2 Indiana, a game with live betting at Bovada. The Hoosiers’ Victor Oladipo is the second favorite to Burke at 11-4, and his IU teammate, Cody Zeller, the book’s preseason Player of the Year favorite, is at 12-1. Taking defense into account, Oladipo might be the best all-around player in the nation. He averages 13.7 points, 6.0 assists and a Big Ten-best 2.3 steals. Oladipo has played his best against IU’s best opponents and is the biggest reason Indiana has four wins over top-10 teams for the first time since 1992-93. In the ACC, Duke senior forward Mason Plumlee is the 3-2 favorite to win that conference’s top honor. He’s 8-1 to win the national award. Plumlee, who like Burke nearly declared for last year’s NBA draft, is tied for third in the ACC in averaging 17.0 points per game and second in rebounds at 10.2 per game. His 17 double-doubles lead the conference. Shane Larkin of regular-season ACC champion Miami (Fla.) is second to Plumlee at 9-4. Larkin averages 13.8 points, 4.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds and is the heart and soul of the surprising Hurricanes. Miami has yet to have an ACC Player of the Year. Virginia Tech’s Erick Green rounds out the favorites at 4-1. Green has been the lone bright spot for the Hokies, leading the nation in scoring at 25.0 points per game. Preseason favorite James Michael McAdoo of North Carolina is 8-1. The Big East Player of the Year race appears over, with Georgetown’s Otto Porter Jr. a huge 1-5 favorite as well as 4-1 to win the national award. Porter leads the Hoyas in points (16.6), rebounds (7.6), steals (2.0) and minutes (34.5) per game. He had a career-high 33 points in a Feb. 23 win at Syracuse that ended the Orange’s 38-game home winning streak. It was the most points ever scored by a Hoya in that storied rivalry. Louisville’s Russ Smith is a distant second favorite at 4-1. Bovada has the largest daily offering of college basketball player and team props around.
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