2023 Wooden Award: Early Favorites

Check out the early odds for college basketball's best player

Drew Timme, PF/C, Gonzaga +700

Welp, last year's favorite to win the award is now this year's favorite to win the award. Who would have thought? Timme has been one of the best players in the country for a couple of seasons now, and he headlines the dangerous attack of the Bulldogs in 2022. There will be no Chet Holmgren to hold him back this season, we will get to see Timme unleashed. He's got all the experience in the world at this point, and could easily have gone to the NBA by now, but he has chosen to stay in college and try and win a National Championship with Gonzaga.

Timme did not win the Wooden Award last season, despite opening as the favorite. He had a down year by his standards, as his field goal percentage was just 58% compared to 65.5% in 2020. He will look to rebound in a big way, and he certainly is capable of having a monster night every time he hits the floor. After all, he is Gonzaga’s all-time leader in NCAA Tournament scoring. The guy is a great player, and he's been a leader for this team since his arrival in 2019.

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Armando Bacot, Center, North Carolina +800

Armando Bacot is just so good in so many ways. North Carolina fans love the guy, and it's easy to see why. Look past the stats, which are incredible, and you'll see a player that always puts the team first. He played injured last season in the NCAA Tournament, and he played at a high level despite his ailments. He had one of the most impressive individual performances ever during the 2021 Tournament. Bacot became the first player in college basketball history with six double-doubles in one NCAA Tournament. His 99 rebounds across those six games were the second-most ever in NCAA Tournament history. For the season, Bacot averaged 16.3 points and 13.1 rebounds per game en route to first-team All-ACC honors.

This man is a beast, and he has room to improve even more. He's been working on his shooting ability and long-range shot over the summer, and if he adds that to his arsenal, everyone should be put on notice immediately. He has the experience and talent to be the best player in the country, and that is reflected in these short odds.

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Caleb Love, Guard, North Carolina +1000

Bacot's teammate and fellow superstar Caleb Love comes in third on the odds board right now before the season. Ultimately, North Carolina fell four points shy of the National Championship, but they will always remember the clutch shooting from Love that took down Duke in the National Semifinal in Mike Krzyzewski's final season as the head basketball coach. That was a special moment for the school, and for Love as a player. He's the guy they go to when they absolutely need a basket. As a full starter in 2021, Love averaged 15.9 points, 3.6 assists, and 3.4 rebounds, but it was his ability to take over games in the second half and hit big shots in big moments that made him a special player.

He's a natural scorer, shooting 37.1 % from the field, and 36.0 % from three. The problem for Love has always been his consistency, as he has sometimes been that "microwave" guy that gets hot when he needs to but can also go on cold streaks. That's something he definitely worked on in the offseason, and if he can shoot the ball at a high level every game, the combination of him and Bacot will be lethal.