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New Player of the Year straw poll: Trey Burke and Victor Oladipo go 1, 2

Feb 21, 2013, 11:39 AM EDT

Victor Oladipo

ESPN.com has released their latest Player of the Year straw poll, and not surprisingly, Trey Burke of Michigan is still leading the way.

But all of a sudden, Burke has real competition, and not just for National Player of the Year.

Indiana’s Victor Oladipo is making a serious push up the rankings. And deservedly so. Tom Crean’s do-it-all guard has put together just a sensational season, turning himself into not only one of the best on-ball defenders in the country, but also into Indiana’s most dangerous offensive weapon on the perimeter.

Oladipo received 18 of the 51 first place votes, and while that was two behind Burke’s tally of 20, once you factor in Cody Zeller’s two first-place votes — which he got despite not even being the Player of the Year on his own team — this race is getting tighter at the top.

Which is a weird thing to say given the fact that this is as wide-open as I can remember a Player of the Year race being.

Burke and Oladipo are the top two contenders right now, but neither of them have taken the kind of control of the race that Anthony Davis had last season or that the combination of Jimmer Fredette, Kemba Walker and Nolan Smith had in 2011.

Five other players — Doug McDermott, Kelly Olynyk, Cody Zeller, Mason Plumlee and Marcus Smart — received at least one first place vote. The next four on the list — Ben McLemore, Otto Porter, Shane Larkin and Erick Green — all deserve heavy consideration for the top three. And there are even a couple of players — Jeff Withey and Deshaun Thomas, to name a few — who didn’t even make the list in this vote.

(Full disclosure: I had a vote, and may ballot went Burke, Oladipo and Smart, but that was submitted before last night’s performance.)

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out, because if Michigan can’t right their ship and if Cody Zeller comes on strong down the stretch, this whole race will get turned on its head.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. tarr123 - Feb 21, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    You are an idiot if they can’t right their ship they have 4 losses on the year and Wisconsin got so lucky that I feel great about our chances of someone hitting another half court buzzer beater against us down the road basically SHUT UP with your exaggerations.

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 21, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      Wow Tarr. Pretty strong wording. Please know I am with you with regards to the losses (only 4).
      I think what Rob is trying to say is…
      If you guys don’t finish strong (and IU and Cody Zeller do)…it will cost Trey Burke some votes.

      Here’s to hoping IU and the big fella’ do finish strong.
      Conference and Tournament title AND the NCAA title.
      But also want to the conference to do well as a whole and spend ZERO time on individual awards.
      I just don’t care about them. In the grand scheme of things…neither should you.
      Go Big Ten! Good luck the rest of the way!

    • dexterismyhero - Feb 22, 2013 at 9:07 AM

      And by how much did you lose to at the Breslin Center?

      They can right the ship if they can defend the post. That will be their main issue.

      Looking for a great finish to the big ten season.

      Go B1G.

  2. badlands75 - Feb 21, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Reblogged this on The Badlands and Everything After and commented:
    C’mon people, the best player on the #1 team should be the POY. Burke is good, but IU is better than Michigan at this point.

  3. jpopejoy - Feb 21, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Full disclosure…IU alum…

    I think Oladipo deserves it over Burke at this point. His scoring goes from 14ppg to 20ppg in the 4 top 10 teams IU has beaten. He is a lock down defender and extremely efficient on O (over 60% in 2s). He also comes up big in crunch time.

    Burke on the other hand is a volume scorer lately. Especially the last month, which it looks like he’s starting to “smell himself” a little too much. I think he is a stud but also doesn’t have a notable road win.

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 21, 2013 at 2:38 PM

      Yeah…valid points. I do think Victor will most likely suffer a little bit as a result of IU’s distribution of the basketball. I mean…he had 19 against MSU and you wouldn’t really know it (with the exception of the last 5 minutes). Of course…it’s easy to miss that when the big fella’ scores 17…Watford and Hulls score 12 and Sheehey plays his typically solid game. IU has (4) 1,000 point scorers on this years roster! That speaks volumes.

    • critter69 - Feb 21, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      Disclosure – I born, raised and educated in Indiana, but I did not attend IU.

      I’ve lived in the state of Maryland for almost 40 years now, and I continue to laugh every time I consider that Oladipo grew up in Upper Marlboro, MD (less than 30 miles from UMCP [U of MD, College Park]), went to high school in Hyattsville, MD (less than 10 miles from UMCP), and is now playing (brilliantly and as a starter) for IU, a school more than 400 miles distant from UMCP.

      And Oladipo is a Junior, who will graduate from IU in May, so he is NOT a laggard in the intelligence quotient.

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