I can't promise Johnathan Motley and his Baylor teammates will keep this up and seriously challenge Kansas at the top of the Big 12. But I can promise this: If Motley and his Baylor teammates do keep this up and seriously challenge Kansas at the top of the Big 12, the Bears will, when this season is over, have their first Associated Press First Team or Second Team All-American in more than three decades.
Such honors tend to go to great players on great teams.
Motley has been a great player on a great team.
The junior forward is averaging 16.3 points and 9.1 rebounds for the undefeated and second-ranked Bears, and he's been good against quality competition. He got 17 points and seven rebounds in a win over Oregon, 19 points and 10 rebounds in a win over VCU, 26 points and six rebounds in a win over Michigan State, 15 points and six rebounds in a win over Louisville, 17 points and eight rebounds in a win over Xavier, and most recently, 19 points and 13 rebounds in Baylor's win at Oklahoma.
That's high-level stuff.
Motley is sixth in the CBS Sports National Player of the Year rankings.
The top 25 candidates for the award are listed below.
Hart got 25 points in last week's surprisingly close win over DePaul, then finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday's victory at Creighton. The senior guard is averaging 20.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists for the reigning national champions. He's the main reason Villanova is No. 1 and carrying a 20-game winning streak into Wednesday's game at Butler.
2. Frank Mason (Kansas)
Mason finished with 22 points and seven assists in Friday's win at TCU, then added 15 points and four assists in Tuesday's last-second victory over Kansas State. The senior point guard is averaging 19.5 points, 5.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds for the third-ranked Jayhawks. He is 31 of 61 from 3-point range.
3. Lonzo Ball (UCLA)
Ball got 23 points, seven assists and six rebounds in Friday's bounce-back win over Oregon State that followed UCLA's last-second loss at Oregon. The freshman point guard is averaging 14.3 points, 8.1 assists and 5.7 rebounds for the fourth-ranked Bruins. He's shooting 52.5 percent overall, 43.4 percent from 3-point range.
It came in a loss, yes. But Kennard still got 34 points and seven rebounds Saturday at Virginia Tech. So the sophomore guard is now averaging 21.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists for the eighth-ranked Blue Devils. Those numbers make him first in scoring, third in rebounding and second in assists on the team.
Swanigan has recorded 20-20 games in three of Purdue's past four games and four times overall. The sophomore forward is averaging 18.5 points and 13.0 rebounds for the 20th-ranked Boilermakers. He has 12 double-doubles in 15 appearances.
6. Johnathan Motley (Baylor)
Motley finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds in last Wednesday's win over Texas Southern, then got 19 points and 13 rebounds in Friday's victory at Oklahoma. The junior forward is averaging 16.3 points and 9.1 rebounds for the second-ranked Bears. He ranks fourth in the Big 12 in scoring and second in rebounding.
7. Malik Monk (Kentucky)
Monk is averaging more points (22.6) than any college player ever has for a John Calipari-coached team. The freshman guard got 47 points three games ago against North Carolina, 34 two games later against Ole Miss and 26 in Tuesday's blowout of Texas A&M. He's shooting 51.6 percent overall, 43.4 percent from 3-point range.
8. De'Aaron Fox (Kentucky)
Monk is getting more headlines, but Fox continues to be terrific. The freshman point guard finished with 15 points, six assists and five rebounds in Tuesday's win over Texas A&M. He's averaging 15.6 points, 6.8 assists and 5.0 rebounds for the sixth-ranked Wildcats. Those numbers rank second, first and third on the team.
9. Maurice Watson (Creighton)
Watson averaged 13.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in Creighton's two games since this list last updated. So the senior point guard is now averaging 12.1 points and a Division I-best 9.1 assists for the season. He's shooting 48.3 percent overall and 47.6 percent from 3-point range for the 10th-ranked Bluejays.
10. Josh Jackson (Kansas)
Jackson is the only Kansas player who ranks in the top three on the team in scoring, rebounding and assists. The freshman wing is second in points (15.2), second in rebounds (6.4) and third in assists (3.3), meaning he does a little of everything. His career-high 22 points helped the Jayhawks beat Kansas State Tuesday.
THE NEXT FIFTEEN (in alphabetical order): Dwayne Bacon (Florida State), Joel Berry (North Carolina), Dillon Brooks (Oregon), Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame), Jawun Evans (Oklahoma State), Marcus Foster (Creighton), Ethan Happ (Wisconsin), Amile Jefferson (Duke), Jock Landale (Saint Mary's), TJ Leaf (UCLA), Lauri Markkanen (Arizona), Kelan Martin (Butler), Alec Peters (Valparaiso), Melo Trimble (Maryland), Nigel Williams-Goss (Gonzaga).