In short, he might, because the junior center turned in another big performance Sunday in a 72-65 victory over Illinois. He took 16 shots, made nine of them and finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes. So Garza has now scored at least 20 points in seven straight games -- and, on the season, he's now averaging 23.0 points and 10.4 rebounds while shooting 54.6% from the field. His Player Efficiency Rating of 36.25 ranks first nationally.
It really is remarkable -- and mostly out of nowhere.
Garza was a nice player last season -- one who averaged 13.1 points and 4.5 rebounds in 23.6 minutes per contest for a team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. But, right or wrong, he didn't even make our list of the entering this season. (For what it's worth, I don't remember anybody complaining.) And yet here we are, less than four months later, and Luka Garza is a legitimate candidate -- along with Marquette's Markus Howard, Dayton's Obi Toppin, Duke's Vernon Carey, Seton Hall's Myles Powell and a few others -- to earn national player of the year honors in the 2019-20 season.
Garza's Hawkeyes moved to No. 17 in Monday morning's updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings -- which pushed Butler, just 2-4 in its past six, down one spot. Iowa is 6-1 in its past seven games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Maryland. The Hawkeyes' next game is Wednesday at Purdue.
Monday's Top 25 And 1 rankings
|Filip Petrusev finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday's 83-79 victory at San Francisco. The Zags' 15-game winning streak features 11 double-digit wins.||--||31-1|
|MaCio Teague finished with 19 points and six rebounds in Saturday's 68-52 victory over TCU. The Bears' 18-game winning streak features victories over Kansas, Villanova and Butler.||--||28-2|
San Diego St
|Matt Mitchell made four 3-pointers and finished with 28 points in Saturday's 80-68 victory over Utah State. The Aztecs are 23-0 for the first time in school history.||--||23-5|
|Devon Dotson finished with 21 points and six rebounds in Saturday's 78-75 victory over Texas Tech. The Jayhawks will take a six-game winning streak into Monday's game with Texas.||--||21-9|
|Ryan McMahon got 23 points off the bench in Saturday's 77-57 victory at NC State. Louisville will take an eight-game winning streak into Wednesday's game with Wake Forest.||--||13-7|
|Obi Toppin finished with 18 points and six rebounds in Saturday's 70-56 victory over Fordham. Both of the Flyers' losses are overtime losses to schools also ranked in the Top 25 And 1.||--||14-10|
|Devin Vassell made seven 3-pointers and finished with 27 points in Saturday's 74-63 victory at Virginia Tech. Florida State is 11-1 in its past 12 games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Virginia.||--||18-7|
|The Wildcats missed 19 of the 26 3-pointers they attempted in Saturday's 76-61 loss to Creighton. The loss snapped Villanova's seven-game winning streak.||--||18-7|
|Derek Culver finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds in Saturday's 66-57 victory over Kansas State. West Virginia is 9-4 in Quadrant 1/Quadrant 2 opportunities with zero losses outside of the first two quadrants.||--||19-10|
|Vernon Carey finished with 26 points and 17 rebounds in Saturday's 97-88 victory at Syracuse. The Blue Devils will take a three-game winning streak into Tuesday's game at Boston College.||--||13-11|
|Jalen Smith finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds in Thursday's 82-72 victory over Iowa. The Terrapins are 9-4 in Quadrant 1/Quadrant 2 opportunities with zero losses outside of the first quadrant.||--||17-14|
|Myles Powell missed eight of the nine 3-pointers he attempted in Saturday's 74-62 loss to Xavier. The double-digit loss snapped Seton Hall's 10-game winning streak.||--||14-13|
|The Tigers made 33 free throws in Saturday's 75-66 victory over Kentucky. Auburn is 4-3 in its past seven games against the Wildcats.||--||13-14|
|Xavier Tillman missed 12 of his 15 field goal attempts in Saturday's 64-63 loss at Wisconsin. The Spartans are 3-3 in their past six games with all three losses coming to currently unranked opponents.||--||15-13|
|The Ducks missed 17 of the 24 3-pointers they attempted in Saturday's 70-64 loss at Stanford. Oregon still has a Pac-12-leading seven league wins.||--||21-7|
|Javonte Smart finished with 21 points and three assists in Saturday's 73-63 victory over Ole Miss. The Tigers have won 10 straight games and are alone atop the SEC standings.||--||19-10|
|Luka Garza finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds in Sunday's 72-65 win over Illinois. Iowa is 11-1 inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena with the lone loss coming in November.||1||22-9|
|The Bulldogs missed 13 of the 14 3-pointers they attempted in Saturday's 65-61 loss to Providence. Butler is 2-4 in its past six games.||1||10-15|
|Myles Dread made four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points off the bench in Saturday's 76-64 victory at Nebraska. The Nittany Lions will take a four-game winning streak into Tuesday's game at Michigan State.||--||11-14|
|Denzel Mahoney got 21 points off the bench in Saturday's 76-61 victory at Villanova. The Bluejays will take a four-game winning streak into Wednesday's game with Providence.||--||22-9|
|The Wildcats finished with 12 turnovers and just eight assists in Saturday's 75-66 loss at Auburn. Four of Kentucky's five losses are to currently unranked teams.||--||9-16|
|Markus Howard made five 3-pointers and finished with 31 points in Saturday's 76-72 victory over DePaul. Marquette is 5-1 in its past six games with the lone loss in that stretch coming in overtime at Butler.||1||13-14|
|The Illini allowed Iowa to shoot 50% from the field, and 43.5% from 3-point range, in Sunday's loss inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The loss snapped Illinois' seven-game winning streak.||1||24-7|
|Tyler Bey finished with 16 points and seven rebounds in Saturday's 78-57 victory at USC. The Buffaloes are 9-4 in Quadrant 1/Quadrant 2 opportunities with only one loss coming outside of the first two quadrants.||--||23-9|
|The Cougars allowed Cincinnati to shoot 45.5% from the field in Saturday's 64-62 loss on the road. The loss snapped Houston's five-game winning streak.||--||28-4|
|Stone Gettings finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds in Saturday's 66-49 victory at Washington State. The Wildcats are 4-1 in their past five games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Arizona State.||--||17-9|