On Sunday, Trey Burke of Michigan, Doug McDermott of Creighton, Victor Oladipo of Indiana and Otto Porter Jr. of Georgetown were named as finalists for the 2013 Naismith Men's College Basketball Player of the Year award.
The finalists were announced at halftime of CBS' broadcast of Kansas vs. North Carolina.
Burke was spectacular this season for Michigan, averaging 18.8 points and 6.7 assists per game. He led the Wolverines to a 26-7 regular-season record (12-6 in the brutal Big Ten), and most recently helped Michigan advance to the Sweet 16 over VCU behind his 18 points and seven assists.
Just a sophomore, Burke has shown marked improvement from his freshman season and is one of the country's most dynamic talents. He was deservedly named the Big Ten Player of the Year.
He isn't the Big Ten's only finalist, however, as Oladipo also stood out on a talented Indiana team.
The junior did a little bit of everything for the Hoosiers this season, averaging 13.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.2 steals per contest. Burke may be a force of nature on the offensive end, but Oladipo proved to be one of the best defensive players in the country and broke Isiah Thomas' 32-year Indiana record for steals in a season.
His ability to help Indiana in numerous ways is one of the reasons why many pundits picked the Hoosiers to win a national championship.
Creighton may not be garnering many votes as a tournament favorite, but the team could feasibly pull off an upset of Duke on Sunday night if star McDermott has one of his vintage games.
The junior forward was once again excellent for the Bluejays, averaging 23.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. He has also come up big for Creighton in the team's biggest games—the Bluejays needed every one of his 27 points and 11 rebounds against Cincinnati in the round of 64.
Unfortunately for Porter Jr., he couldn't prevent his Georgetown team from being upset in the round of 64 against Florida Gulf Coast, one of the most shocking results in this year's tournament.
But Porter Jr. was still spectacular for the Hoyas this year, averaging 16.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.8 steals per game. On a Georgetown team that occasionally struggled to score, Porter Jr. regularly picked up the slack on the offensive side of the floor.
It's difficult to pick a clear favorite between these four stars, but I would give the edge to Burke. He was the best player in the country's top conference this year, and there isn't a player on this list more fun to watch in action.
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