NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Picks, Predictions, Odds

Following are some of the top candidates we are watching for the Most Outstanding Player Award for the 2023 NCAA Men's Tournament.

While historically 12 players that didn't win the championship have won the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, all those instances happened a long time ago. Hakeem Olajuwon in 1983 is the last player on a losing team to take that award so in considering MOP propositions for the 2023 Tournament, the focus should only be on teams that can realistically win the championship. 

Listed below are my 8 Predictions to win the 2023 Most Outstanding Player Award.

NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Picks

NCAA Tourney MOP Predictions

Odds Subject to Change

Zach Edey, Purdue (+1300)

The likely Wooden Award winner and the most dominant force in college hoops this season, Zach Edey (21.9 PPG, 12.8 RPG, 2.3 BPG) is going to be the headliner for Matt Painter’s Boilermakers as long as they last in the Dance, which might be all of the way to Houston as Purdue enters as the top seed in the East Regional. 

Though we don’t think the Riveters are quite as good as they were a year ago (especially with star wing and NBA lottery Jaden Ivey now doing his thing for the Pistons), they might be a bit harder to beat, if that makes any sense, due to the way Painter is utilizing Edey, playing at a bit slower pace than a year ago and literally daring foes to stop his big man, who has been dealing with all sorts of gimmick defenses to slow him down, to no avail.  It is hard to gimmick a 7-4 force in the middle, however, as Edey’s presence alters the dynamics like no other player in the country.  Edey will be considered the frontrunner for MOP as long as Purdue lasts in the Dance.   

Brandon Miller, Alabama (+800)

Alabama freshman Brandon Miller is regarded as the best in the NCAA Tournament. (Getty)

There is some baggage accompanying Brandon Miller these days, for sure, with the considerable distractions of the recent off-court news that seemed to be weighing on the Tide before the Dance. Miller surely felt some of it, too, and his last two efforts of the regular season saw his shooting percentage dip alarmingly (just 10 for 35).  But Miller got it together with the rest of his teammates at the SEC Tourney last week in Nashville, scoring 20.3 points per game and hauling down 11 rebounds per game as the Tide rolled to the title and looks back on track for a deep run in the Dance.  The longer Bama lasts, the greater the likelihood Miller is the catalyst, and his MOP chances enhanced.

Jaime Jaquez, Jr.  UCLA (+1400)

Here is where Goodrich ought to smile, as fellow Bruin Jaquez is well-seasoned in March, participating in his third Dance, and familiar with what awaits (though nothing like the Indianapolis bubble he endured two years ago).  Jaime Jaquez Jr. was asked to pick up more of the load last week in the Pac-12 Tourney in Las Vegas after the injury suffered to 6-5 wing Jaylen Clark, Mick Cronion’s best defender and UCLA’s second-leading scorer behind Jaquez (17.3 PPG). Jaquez (along with fellow sr. Tyger Campbell)  seemed to will the Bruins to wins over Oregon and Colorado before losing in the last second to Arizona in the finale, when UCLA was also minus center Adem Bona (who might be able to return for the sub-regionals).  Even without Clark, this bruins edition seems to own the fortitude to make a deep run, and if so, Jaquez will likely be the centerpiece.

Azuolas Tubelis, Arizona (+1800)

Azuolas Tubelis has been putting up big numbers for Arizona this season. (Getty)

Perhaps the nation’s most-unique threat, the 6-11 Azuolas Tubelis is versatile in the Euro big tradition, but even then some with a highly-productive stat sheet that includes 19.9 ppg and 9.2 rpg for a loaded Wildcats side that records 111 points per 100 possessions when Tubelis is on the floor.  Tubelis is also the best shot-creatror on Tommy Lloyd’s roster, and little chance he doesn’t become featuered in the Wildcats can make a deep run.

Drew Timme, Gonzaga (+1700)

In the case of Drew Timme, we suspect he might actually be helped by the emergence of a couple of his teammates, specifically breakout wing Julian Strawther (15.3 PPG), who is now projected as a mid-to-late NBA first-round pick, and F Anton Watson.  This makes it harder on foes to devote too much of their attention to Timme, whore repertoire of moves in the paint make him almost impossible to stop when he gets the ball on the low blocks.    Gonzaga also enters the Dance red-hot and the offense humming maybe better than it has all season, ranking No. 1 in adjusted offensive efficiency, with a 63% clip inside the arc, and 38% from 3, across the past month, so the  table is set for Timme to do plenty of damage and put up plenty of points.  Now the Zags have to make a deep run for Timme to be a serious contender, and projected early-round matchups vs. TCU and UCLA will give Timme a chance to feature in showcase games.

Jalen Wilson, Kansas (+1100)

The popular pick for those who believe the Jayhawks can successfully defend their national crown, Jalen Wilson emerged this campaign after playing a secondary role for KU in last year’s title run.  Wilson (19.7 ppg) has performed at a high level all season for a Jayhawks team with the best résumé in America after wins over Duke, Texas, Baylor, Indiana, Kansas State,  Kentucky and others.  Wilson’s candidacy, however, also figures to be tied to the health of HC Bill Self, just discharged from the hospital after missing the Big 12 Tourney in Kansas City, and expected to be on the sideline later this week in Des Moines.  The Jayhawks have a difficult West Regional to navigate and Wilson needs a run to the Final Four in Houston to have a serious shot at the MOP. 

Adama Sanogo, UConn (+1900)

At the center of things for the Huskies, Adama Sanogo (16.9 PPG, 7.2 RPG) does not have quite the stat lines of Edey, Miller, and a few others, as Dan Hurley likes to do some rotations with 7-2 frosh Donovan Clingan on the floor for 12-15 minutes a game, giving Sanogo occasional rests. But Sanogo is the catalyst, a dominant post presence with a soft touch, with Hurley’s four-out offense surrounding spinning around Sanogo with a gaggle of long-range shooting threats that inevitably open up the floor.  As UConn didn’t lose in non-conference play, a deep run would be no surprise , and worth noting that Sanogo outplayed Bama’s touted Miller in their one head-to-head meeting, outscoring him 25-18 when the Huskies rolled the Tide at portland in the Phil Knight Invitational back during Thanksgiving week.

Jeremy Roach, Duke (N/A)

Duke relies heavily on guard Jeremy Roach to run the offense. (Getty)

As the most-experienced component on a young Blue Devils roster filled with blue-chippers, Jeremy Roach plays a vital role for this Duke edition, as the offense struggled in Roach’s brief absence earlier in the season.   Roach, however, became a breakout star as a frosh last season in Coach K’s last trip around the track that ended at the Final Four, so he’s used to the March pressures, and while his scoring numbers (only 13 PPG) pale in comparison to some others on this list, Roach’s role is going to be vital for a Duke team that has gained momentum across the past month and enters the Dance full of confidence after winning the ACC Tourney crown.  Efforts like Roach’s 23 points in the title game win over Virginia at Greensboro last week would gain him considerable notice if the Blue Devils continue to advance. 

Odds provided by UNIBET - Subject to Change