Oladipo keeps pace in POY straw poll

The Player of the Year race still feels wide open.

While Michigan sophomore guard Trey Burke still has a hold on the top spot in the fourth Player of the Year poll, comprised of voters for the AP, Naismith, Robertson and Wooden Awards, a gaggle of people are keeping pace, most notably Indiana guard Victor Oladipo.

The junior entered the poll two weeks ago in fourth place and moved to second in our panel of 51 voters, including being in first or second place on every ballot but one that came in after Indiana’s 72-68 win over Michigan State on Tuesday night.

The other big mover was Gonzaga junior forward Kelly Olynyk, who sits in fifth place after receiving votes for the first time in the last poll two weeks ago.

As a reminder, pollsters are asked for their top three vote-getters in the poll anonymously, with three points given for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one for a third-place vote.

Tracking the contenders:

Burke: Preseason -- T-11th; first regular-season poll -- 2nd; second regular-season poll -- 2nd; third regular-season poll -- 1st; fourth regular-season poll -- 1st.

Oladipo: Preseason -- NR; first regular-season poll -- NR; second regular-season poll -- NR; third regular-season poll -- 4th; fourth regular-season poll -- 2nd.

McDermott: Preseason -- 2nd, first regular-season poll -- 3rd, second regular-season poll -- 1st, third regular-season poll -- 2nd; fourth regular-season poll -- 3rd.

Plumlee: Preseason -- NR; first regular-season poll -- 1st; second regular-season poll -- 3rd; third regular-season poll -- 3rd; fourth regular-season poll -- 4th.

Olynyk: Preseason -- NR; first regular-season poll -- NR; second regular-season poll -- NR; third regular-season poll -- T-10; fourth regular-season poll -- 5th.

Zeller: Preseason -- 1st; first regular-season poll -- 4th; second regular-season poll -- 4th; third regular-season poll -- 5th; fourth regular-season poll -- 6th.

Poll analysis

  • With the way the poll is going, the Big Ten Player of the Year and National Player of the Year races might come to a head on March 10 in Ann Arbor, Mich., where the Hoosiers and Wolverines close out the regular season by facing each other. If Oladipo continues to surge and Burke keeps pace and that game stalemates, a split could be conceivable.

  • Doug McDermott and Mason Plumlee are still hanging around, but fading from view. This is the first time all season at least one of the two big men wasn’t in the top two of the poll.

  • Erick Green, Shane Larkin and Otto Porter make their poll debuts. Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams, Miami’s Durand Scott and Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier departed the poll after receiving votes two weeks ago.

  • Three obligatory notes: Polls were due at 5 p.m. Wednesday, before Wednesday night’s games. Ballots are sent out every other Thursday and voters can submit their ballots at any time from when the call for ballots are sent out until that point Wednesday. Also, as a reminder, the poll is at the mercy of pollsters responding, which results in some fluctuation between the numbers of pollsters both overall and from region to region each week.