NCAA Basketball: Pritchard surges in National Player of the Year rankings

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NCAA Basketball

NEWARK, NJ – JANUARY 11: Myles Powell #13 of the Seton Hall Pirates, left, greets Markus Howard #0 of the Marquette Golden Eagles, Binks/Getty Images)

Luka Garza remains the leader in NCAA Basketball’s National Player of the Year rankings, but the race is heating up as the season comes to a close.

The NCAA Basketball regular season is wrapping up over the course of the next week and, while conference tournaments start next week (March is nearly here!), all the legitimate National Player of the Year candidates still have a couple of games on their schedule.

At this point, there are no more fringe contenders, only the five on this list. Those players – like San Diego State’s Malachi Flynn, Duke’s Vernon Carey Jr., and Kansas’ Devon Dotson – have all had their cases hurt either by significant losses or, in Dotson’s case, having a teammate take away some of his momentum in Udoka Azubuike.

So, as we head into the final week of the regular season, here’s where the top contenders stand in our National Player of the Year Power Rankings.

5

Markus Howard

Last rank: 5

Stats: 27.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.2 apg

Markus Howard‘s candidacy is hanging on by a thread following Marquette’s three-game losing streak, which was snapped on Wednesday with a 23-point home win over Georgetown.

Howard played a huge role in that with 30 points thanks to his most efficient shooting night of the calendar year and, after scoring 38 against Providence in the previous game, managed to keep him on the list for now. It also helped that he passed Stephen Curry on the all-time career scoring list, too.

Marquette has one more chance for a statement win, and that comes Saturday against Seton Hall. Coincidentally, that game doubles in importance for Howard, as he will be going head-to-head with Myles Powell – another candidate you will see shortly.

The senior’s play in that game, particularly how he performs in relation to Powell, could be the deciding factor in terms of who wins Big East Player of the Year and who remains in the National Player of the Year race.

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