Casual basketball fans may not know the MVP award for the NCAA Tournament is actually called the Most Outstanding Player. Nevertheless, it is always given to the best performer on the national champion.
So when handicapping this market, you first must decide which team you believe will cut down the nets while watching One Shining Moment at the end of March Madness. If your player isn’t on the championship squad, your ticket is dead.
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Final Four Most Outstanding Player Odds
These odds are as of Friday, March 25. Click to bet now. Any player not listed has odds longer than +2500.
Jamie Jaquez Jr.
Fabian White Jr.
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Most Outstanding Player Analysis
Ochai Agbaji, Kansas: If Bill Self is to lead his Jayhawks back to the Final Four for the second time since 2012, he will look to his leading scorer and best overall player. Despite struggling offensively in Kansas’ first two NCAA Tournament games, it’s going to take a significant effort from Agbaji if the Jayhawks are to have any chance of cutting down the nets this season. Upon averaging 20 PPG and 5+ RPG, the 6’5” guard must be efficient on both sides of the ball. Fortunately for Kansas, they have arguably the easiest road to winning its region than any other team, having to go through Providence, and then the winner of 10-seed Miami and 11-seed Iowa State.
Kyler Edwards, Houston: No one saw a faster rise up the odds tables than Edwards after No. 5 Houston upset No. 1 Arizona in the Sweet Sixteen. Edwards scored 19 points in 38 minutes against the Wildcats including five threes. While teammate Jamal Shead led the team in scoring, it was Edwards who hit the dagger in the upset. He’s the team’s leading scorer (14.1 points per game) and plays the most minutes on Houston (34 per game).
Jaden Ivey, Purdue: Purdue’s sophomore guard put up an impressive 17 PPG, 3+ APG, and nearly 5.0 RPG. In his first two NCAA Tournament matchups, Ivey dominated on both sides of the ball, and showed the entire country why the two-way guard is projected to go in the top five in this year’s NBA Draft. Fortunately for the Boilermakers, they drew the 15th-seeded St. Peter’s Peacocks, whose cinderella story has been one for the history books. Given that Purdue is a 13-point favorite, and the fact that it will face either eighth- seeded North Carolina or fourth-seeded UCLA in the next round, the Boilermakers have a clear road to the Final Four and possibly beyond. That makes a significant case for Ivey to be in contention for the Most Outstanding Player.
Collin Gillespie, Villanova: It should be no surprise that Villanova’ star PG is a potential candidate. The senior has proven to be the leader of this Villanova team time & time again. If Jay Wright’s Wildcats are to make another championship run, there’s no doubt that it will be on the back of their best player, Collin Gillespie. Although Villanova has a tough road to the championship game, having yet to go through Houston and whoever comes out of the Midwest region, Gillespie would undoubtedly be the spark that fuels this Wildcat offense.
One Longshot To Consider
Wendell Moore Jr. (+5000), Duke: Despite Paolo Banchero being more likely to win the award if Duke wins it all, a case can be made for Moore. The Duke forward has taken more of a backseat role offensively over the course of the season, but if Coach K is going to lead his Blue Devils to the Final Four and beyond in his last season, Duke must excel offensively and heavily rely on its role players. If Duke is to win the West Region on its road to New Orleans, it will have to go through Arkansas. If Duke gets by Arkansas to reach the Final Four, then wins two more games, Moore may play a bigger role than expected.