On Monday, Wooden Award officials sent voters a link to the final ballot for the most prestigious honor in college basketball.
The polls opened on Monday at 9 a.m. ET, and they will close this Monday at 3 p.m. ET, after the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament have been completed. If some voters believe the race is close, then perhaps a strong weekend could sway the final tally. On Wednesday, USA Today named RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson's teammate, national player of the year.
Still, the contenders, it seems, are all about a mile behind Williamson, who returned from a knee injury in the ACC tournament and put together a string of games that confirmed his status as the likely No. 1 pick in this summer's NBA draft by leading Duke to the conference championship with a win over Florida State.
Who would win the award today
The freshman star told reporters he could have returned prior to the ACC tournament but that Duke's medical staff wanted to be sure he was ready to go. In his first game back after missing a handful of matchups due to a mild knee sprain, Williamson played the same role he had manned prior to suffering the injury: the best player in college basketball. Here are the numbers for post-injury Williamson over three games: 27.0 points per game, 10.0 rebounds per game, 30-for-37 shooting from inside the arc (81 percent), 3-for-6 from beyond the arc, four blocks and seven steals.
Hard to imagine anyone topping that.
The four players who could upset Zion
RJ Barrett: While some voters scrutinized Duke after Williamson's injury, they also praised Barrett for his leadership and his ability to carry the team with his best friend and teammate sidelined. Barrett hasn't been a great 3-point shooter (32.5 percent in ACC play), but he has been effective everywhere else (22.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists per game). He might be the top threat to Williamson on this list.
Cassius Winston: He collected 14 points and 11 assists in Michigan State's win over Michigan in the Big Ten tournament title game on Sunday. He is the reason the Spartans continued to win despite enduring various injuries throughout the season. Winston is averaging 18.9 PPG and 7.6 APG, while making 40 percent of his 3-point attempts.
Grant Williams: He is the leader of a Tennessee team that enters the NCAA tournament as a 2-seed. And his numbers are Zion-like: 19.0 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.4 blocks per game, 1.1 steals per game. He also is a pro at getting to the charity stripe, where he averages 7.3 attempts per game and makes nearly 83 percent of his free throw attempts.
Ethan Happ: Voters love big numbers, and Happ's stat total is very impressive. He is averaging 17.5 PPG and 10.1 RPG. That's not unexpected for the 6-foot-10 big man who leads Wisconsin, a 5-seed that will face Oregon in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. But he also is averaging 4.6 APG as one of the only true big men to crack the top-100 nationally in assists. He also adds 1.3 BPG. But will his sub-50 percent mark from the free throw line hurt his chances? We'll see.