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Player of the Year Watch: Sullinger meeting high expectations


Today we unveil the first installment of the CBSSports.com Player of the Year Watch -- where Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman put their heads together, call each other names and come up with the top 10 players who should be fighting for all the national honors.

It may be no shock as to who sits atop the list, but there are certainly a couple surprises.

Statistics through Dec. 7

1. Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)
Key stats: 19.1 ppg | 10.3 rpg | 62% FG
He entered the season as the front-runner for Player of the Year honors and has lived up to expectations -- although he missed the last game against Texas-Pan American due to back spasms and could wind up sitting out Saturday at Kansas. Sullinger lost weight in the offseason and it's begun to pay dividends -- even though he'll never be an above-the-rim type of guy.
2. Thomas Robinson (Kansas)
Key stats: 17.4 ppg | 12.0 rpg
The Jayhawks may not be as dominant as they have been in the past, but it's not because of T-Rob, who has been dominant. Robinson has seven double-doubles in eight games -- and wound up with 14 points and eight boards in that contest. It's tough to find someone who consistently plays harder than Robinson.
3. Tu Holloway (Xavier)
Key stats: 17.7 ppg | 4.7 apg | 4.2 rpg
Holloway has struggled a bit out of the gates, but when it matters most, he has delivered. He did it in overtime against Vanderbilt by hitting huge shots -- and then followed it up with a similar performance down the stretch against Purdue. He's one of the top all-around point guards in the country, but needs to work on putting full games together.
4. Marcus Denmon (Missouri)
Key stats: 21.3 ppg | 5.6 rpg | 50% 3-pointers
Denmon is thriving even more now that Phil Pressey has the ball in his hands. The undersized shooting guard is extremely efficient, shooting 55 percent from the field, 50 percent from deep while averaging just 0.5 turnovers per game. He started off slow against Villanova, but finished with 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting in the victory, which moved the Tigers to 8-0.
5. Anthony Davis (Kentucky)
Key stats: 12.3 ppg | 9.1 rpg | 4.5 bpg
The consensus No. 1 freshman in the country has lived up to expectations. He's long, skilled, athletic -- and can do it on both ends of the court. Davis already showed he is ready for the big time with his last-second block of North Carolina's John Henson to preserve Kentucky's win over the Tar Heels. You're almost certainly looking at the No. 1 pick in June's NBA Draft due to his potential, but Davis is producing as well.
6. Doug McDermott (Creighton)
Key stats: 23.7 ppg | 9.0 rpg | 58% 3-pointers
His father/coach, Greg McDermott, didn't think his kid was good enough to play in the Big 12. I'd say that's no longer the case with the younger McDermott tearing apart the Missouri Valley. His numbers are astounding -- 23.7 points, nine boards while shooting 63 percent from the field and 58 percent from deep. Oh yeah, and Creighton is undefeated.
7. Mike Moser (UNLV)
Key stats: 15.8 ppg | 12.5 rpg | 3.0 apg
This guy wasn't on anyone's radar a month ago, but the UCLA transfer (he averaged 4.7 minutes per game as a freshman for Ben Howland) has been dominant. Moser is leading the nation in rebounding and hasn't just done it against cupcakes, either. He put up 16 points and 18 boards against North Carolina's future NBA frontline.
8. Terrence Jones (Kentucky)
Key stats: 15.0 ppg | 7.5 rpg | 2.5 bpg
He's certainly playing harder this season than he did last year as a freshman, but Jones remains inconsistent from game to game and even, at times, from play to play. But having said that, he's more reliable this season, and while his overall numbers have dipped, his decision-making has improved.
9. Harrison Barnes (North Carolina)
Key stats: 17.2 ppg | 4.2 rpg | 46% 3-pointers
Hasn't been quite as dominant as many expected, but he's certainly expanded his game -- even though his strength is spot-up shooting or pulling the trigger off one or two dribbles. If Barnes hadn't gotten into foul trouble in the first half against Kentucky, it might have been a different outcome.
10. Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette)
Key stats: 19.9 ppg | 3.4 apg | 40% 3-pointers
DJO is far more efficient this season and isn't forcing as many ill-advised and contested shots. He's an undersized scoring guard who can shoot it from deep and also attacks the basket. He's shooting 51 percent from the field, 40 percent from deep and is also one of the better perimeter defenders in the Big East. Johnson-Odom is one of the main reasons why Marquette has gotten off to a quick start.

Eye on College Basketball: Jeff Borzello ranks the top freshmen


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