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Favorites and sleepers for Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament

Let’s take a look at some candidates for Most Outstanding Player of March Madness.

Oklahoma v Gonzaga Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

With the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament now whittled down to 16 teams, it’s time to start looking ahead to potential recipients of the Most Outstanding Player award upon the conclusion of March Madness.

The award is traditionally given to a player on the team that emerges as the national champion so whoever is cutting down the nets at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday, April 5 will have their respective best player bestowed the honor.

DraftKings Sportsbook has released odds for potential award recipients and we’ll give you some favorites, some sleepers and some long shots to keep your eyes on as the tournament progresses.

Favorites

Corey Kispert, Gonzaga (+450)

Kispert opens as the odds-on favorite to win Most Outstanding Player and for good reason. The AP All-American and WCC Player of the Year put up and efficient 23 points on 66.7 percent shooting and five rebounds in just 27 minutes of Gonzaga’s first-round blowout of Norfolk State before 16 against Oklahoma.

As the undefeated Bulldogs continue romping through the tournament, he’ll have more opportunities to make his case. However, he’ll have stiff competition from players on his own team...

Drew Timme (+500)/Jalen Suggs (+800), Gonzaga

No. 1 Gonzaga’s run through the tourney presents an opportunity for fellow All-Americans Drew Timme and Jalen Suggs to capture the award as well.

After doing his part for 22 minutes in the Norfolk State victory, Timme exploded for a double-double performance of 30 points and 13 rebounds in the Zag’s 87-71 blowout of eighth-seeded Oklahoma. Meanwhile, freshman phenom Suggs didn’t contribute much against Norfolk but offered up 16 points, three boards, three assists and three steals in the win over OU.

What makes Gonzaga a dangerous out is that any one of their big three can go off for a career night at any time, so we’ll see who steps up when battling Creighton in the Sweet 16.

Jared Butler (+600), Baylor

The consensus First-Team All-American played to his season averages in Baylor’s second-round victory over Wisconsin, putting up 16 points and three rebounds despite being in foul trouble during the 76-63 victory.

Tough matchups against Villanova and potentially Arkansas in the next two rounds will test the junior from Reserve, LA, potentially boosting his chances with back-to-back solid outputs.

Sleepers

Quentin Grimes (+2000), Houston

The Co-AAC Player of the Year was huge for the Cougars in both of their tourney wins last weekend, dropping 18 versus Cleveland State before playing all 40 minutes and nearly putting up a double-double performance of 22 points and nine rebounds in their 63-60 nailbiting win over Rutgers.

Shooting 41.7 percent from three on the year, he’ll have a shot to show his range from downtown when facing Syracuse’s patented zone defense.

Evan Mobley (+3000), USC

Mobley is quickly bumping up his stock for the 2021 NBA Draft and some are speculating if he can overtake Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham as the presumptive No. 1 overall pick. That speculation is backed up by the 7’0”, Pac-12 Player of the Year posting back-to-back double-doubles in USC’s two tournament victories, adding five assists to the statline in their 85-51 stomping of Kansas.

He’ll have a chance to eat again when facing Pac-12 rival Oregon, who he put up 11 points and five rebounds against in their 72-58 victory on Feb. 22.

Moses Moody (+4000), Arkansas

Another potential NBA Draft lottery pick this summer, Moody has a chance to up his stock throughout the tournament and so far, the freshman from Little Rock has shown himself nicely through the first two rounds.

After dropping 12 points against Colgate, Moody offered 15 points on 54.5 percent shooting and six boards in their tight 68-66 victory over Texas Tech. The potential is there for him to drop a 20+ point performance when matching up with Oral Roberts in the Sweet 16.

Darkhorses

Buddy Boeheim (+6000), Syracuse

At the forefront of Syracuse sneaking their way into the tournament has been the emergence of Buddy Boeheim, who has gone nuclear on the offensive end since the ACC Tournament.

The son of longtime Orange head coach Jim Boeheim followed up a 30-point effort against San Diego State by dropping 25 against former Big East rival West Virginia in Round 2. If Syracuse continues their unexpected run, the hype and attention on the coach’s son will only continue to grow.

RaiQuan Gray (+8000), Florida State

While teammates M.J. Walker and Scottie Barnes haven’t necessarily played well through two tournament games, Noles forward RaiQuan Gray has stepped up to lead them to the Sweet 16.

Gray dropped 17 and seven against UNC-Greensboro in round one before coming up with nine points and six rebounds against Colorado in the second round. Banging up against top-seed Michigan in the Sweet 16 could provide him with a platform to make his case for Most Outstanding Player should Florida State advance.

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