Hall of Fame sportswriter Frank Burlison, who recently jumped onto the Scout ship, continued his Wooden Watch and Game of the Week features yesterday and the results were pretty interesting. He has Wayne as his number 2 for the Wooden award behind Utah's Andrew Bogut. The media talking heads are high on Bogut with good reason - his numbers are stellar, especially as a proportion of his team's offense. I wonder, however if he'll suffer for being "stuck out there" in the Mountain West Conference. If Simien continues to have games like he did on Sunday, he'll be in great position to contend for the Wooden Award. In any case, barring some complete collapse, we'll be seeing his number hang in Allen Fieldhouse, as he's nearly sure to be a First Team All American. Here's Burlison's top 5 for the Wooden Award:
1. Andrew Bogut (Utah, 7-0, Soph.)His numbers: 20.6 points, 11.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game; .638 FG. Why he's here: He's the dominant "big" presence in college basketball and has taken a team that would be second division in the Mountain West Conference without him and helped shape it into a potential Sweet 16 club.
2. Wayne Simien (Kansas, 6-9, Sr.) His numbers: 19.2 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game; .542 FG. Why he's here: There was a very large "vote for me for Big 12 Player of the Year" statement uttered, figuratively, by Simien against Oklahoma State Sunday:
3. Salim Stoudamire (Arizona, 6-2, Sr.) His numbers: 18.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game; .534 3pt FG. Why he's here: An argument can be made that he's the most prolific outside shooter at a Pac 10 school since Reggie Miller was hoisting jumpers at UCLA.
4. J.J. Redick (Duke, 6-4, Jr.) His numbers: 22.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game; .412 3pt FG. Why he's here: Much too much has been made about whether he's a "better" jump shooter than Salim Stoudamire. The bottom is that he's one over the very best players in college today period.
5. Chris Paul (Wake Forest, 6-0, So.) His numbers: 15.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 2.5 steals per game; .506 3pt FG. Why he's here: His numbers aren't nearly reflective of how gifted he is or of in how high esteem he's held by opposing coaches.
He also has KU as his number 6 team in the country, but that was before Boston College's loss.
Jerry Palm has released another bracket projection and three losses later, KU is still a number 1 seed, with Washington, Gonzaga, UConn and Cincinatti the 2,3,4 and 5 seeds respectively. According to his bracket, we'd also be playing the winner of the Maryland UCLA game in the second round, which would make for good TV, I suppose.
His bracket also shows Illinois playing Nevada in the second round, which would be a pretty interesting game. Nick Fazekas has really come on this year and Nevada has rebounded very well considering they lost Kirk Snyder to the NBA and their coach to Stanford.