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Wooden Award Watch: Ranking the Top 10 Candidates at Week 10

Ryan SatskyContributor IIINovember 21, 2016

Wooden Award Watch: Ranking the Top 10 Candidates at Week 10

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    Our Wooden Award Watch is now a biweekly posting, and some of the nation's top players have been on a tear over the past two weeks.

    However, some have only played one or two games, and their rankings have suffered.

    We have two new faces in the top 10, both of whom were completely off the radar in the preseason. One freshman remains in the rankings.

    For the first time, we have some major movement at the top of the leaderboard. Find out who took the throne in our Week 10 edition of the Wooden Watch.

Just Missed the Cut

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    This is an honorable mentions list. The following players (in alphabetical order) were considered but ultimately failed to make the cut:

    Jack Cooley, PF, Notre Dame

    Jamaal Franklin, SF, San Diego State

    Sean Kilpatrick, SG, Cincinnati

    CJ Leslie, PF, NC State

    Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

    Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA

    Mike Muscala, PF, Bucknell

    Brandon Paul, PG, Illinois

    Phil Pressey, PG, Missouri


10. Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

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    Key Stats: 19.9 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.5 BPG

    Previous Ranking: No. 5

    Bottom Line: Bennett has actually upped his scoring average in the past two weeks, but his 15-point, 13-rebound performance in a loss against North Carolina wasn't as impressive as the stat line may suggest. While Bennett does slide in the rankings, even being considered for this award as a freshman is notable in itself.

9. Andre Hollins, PG, Minnesota

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    Key Stats: 13.6 PPG, 3.7 APG, 1.3 SPG

    Previous Ranking: NR

    Bottom Line: His number's aren't flashy, but Andre Hollins has been playing at an elite level for a top 10 team in the country. In his lone game in the past two weeks, he dropped 22 points and six dimes in a rare Minnesota victory against Michigan State.

8. Kelly Olynyk, PF, Gonzaga

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    Key Stats: 17.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, .675 FG%

    Previous Ranking: NR

    Bottom Line: What a difference a redshirt year made for Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk. The former benchwarmer had stellar outings against three quality opponents—Baylor, Oklahoma State and Santa Clara—in the past two weeks, including a near-perfect shooting performance for 33 points and 10 boards against Santa Clara.

7. Jeff Withey, C, Kansas

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    Key Stats: 13.8 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 4.9 BPG, .589 FG%

    Previous Ranking: No. 4

    Bottom Line: It's not easy to maintain your ranking when you play one game in a span of two weeks, especially when that one game was a blowout against American. Still, Withey has continued to elevate his offensive game, while ranking second nationally in blocked shots.

    Note: Stats and analysis compiled before Temple at Kansas.

6. Cody Zeller, C, Indiana

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    Key Stats: 16.6 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.3 BPG, .622 FG%

    Previous Ranking: No. 8

    Bottom Line: Zeller began his ascent back towards the top of the leaderboard with a strong 19-point, 10-rebound effort in a win at Iowa to begin conference play. Expect his minutes and his touches to increase during Big Ten play, and his numbers to go up as well.

5. Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse

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    Key Stats: 12.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 10.1 APG, 3.0 SPG

    Previous Ranking: No. 7

    Bottom Line: MCW's abysmal shooting display against Temple three weeks ago dropped him into the bottom half of the rankings, but a near triple-double against Central Connecticut State and a double-double against Rutgers brought him back into the top five. He still has a firm grip on the national assists lead.

4. Russ Smith, SG, Louisville

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    Key Stats: 20.0 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.8 APG, 2.6 SPG

    Previous Ranking: No. 9

    Bottom Line: Smith exploded for 21 points, seven rebounds and three steals against rival Kentucky, with most of his points coming on the fast break. His outstanding perimeter defense has continued to improve, as he leads the charge for what I believe to be the best defensive team in the land.

3. Doug McDermott, PF, Creighton

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    Key Stats: 23.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG, .485 3P%

    Previous Ranking: No. 3

    Bottom Line: There's a fine line between the top three and the rest of the field on this leaderboard, and Creighton's McDermott is part of that trio. He's averaging over 20 points and 10 boards to begin Missouri Valley play, including 29 points and 10 rebounds against Evansville. His consistent play over the past two weeks holds him steady at No. 3.

2. Mason Plumlee, C, Duke

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    Key Stats: 18.4 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 1.6 BPG, .634 FG%

    Previous Ranking: No. 1

    Bottom Line: After four weeks, Plumlee has been dethroned from the top spot—not because he lost it, but just because someone else gained it. Undefeated Duke's go-to-guy had an uber-impressive showing against Santa Clara with 22 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, but was slowed down a bit in wins over Davidson and Wake Forest.

1. Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

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    Key Stats: 18.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 7.2 APG, 1.4 SPG

    Previous Ranking: No. 2

    Bottom Line: Finally, some movement at the very top of the leaderboard. Michigan's floor leader has displayed jaw-dropping performances over the past two weeks. He dropped 22 points and 11 assists on Central Michigan before scoring 13 points in the first five minutes to begin Big Ten play against Northwestern.

    Burke has earned the top spot, but the difference between him and Plumlee is marginal. There's no runaway favorite at this point, which should make for a fantastic race as we enter conference play for the major conferences.

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