I never thought Markus Howard would be the national player of the year because, honestly, I didn't think his team would be good enough for him to win it. Marquette wasn't ranked in the preseason AP Top 25 poll. And what history tells us is that the national player of the year always comes from a Top 25 team.
But now look.
Marquette is 6-1 in its past seven games, in possession of six Quadrant 1 wins and, in my opinion, an obvious Top 25 team. I have the Golden Eagles at No. 16 in Monday morning's updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings -- and Howard is obviously the main reason why. Simply put, if I had to submit a ballot right now, the senior guard would likely get my vote for National Player of the Year.
Howard made three 3-pointers Sunday, and finished with 17 points, in a 76-57 victory over Butler. So he's now averaging a national-best 27.4 points while making 39.4% of the 10.3 3-pointers he's attempting per game for a team that's tied for second in the Big East standings. That's strong. And if Howard goes big on the big stage that Wednesday's game at Villanova will provide, it could be the type of thing that enhances his candidacy to collect trophies at the end of this season.
Top 25 And 1 rankings
|Drew Timme got 20 points and 10 rebounds off the bench in Saturday's 90-60 victory at Saint Mary's. The Zags' 17-game winning streak features 13 double-digit victories.||--||31-1|
|MaCio Teague made four 3-pointers and finished with 24 points in Saturday's 78-70 win over Oklahoma State. The Bears' 20-game winning streak features victories over Kansas, Villanova and Butler.||--||28-2|
San Diego St
|Malachi Flynn finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in Saturday's 89-74 victory at Air Force. The Aztecs are 24-0 for the first time in school history.||--||23-5|
|Devon Dotson finished with 18 points and 11 assists in Saturday's 60-46 victory at TCU. The Jayhawks will take an eight-game winning streak into Wednesday's game at West Virginia.||--||21-9|
|Jordan Nwora finished with 22 points and seven rebounds in Saturday's 80-73 victory over Virginia. The Cardinals will take a 10-game winning streak into Wednesday's game at Georgia Tech.||--||13-7|
|Obi Toppin finished with 17 points, four rebounds and three steals in Saturday's 71-65 win over Saint Louis. Both of the Flyers' losses came in overtime to schools also ranked in the Top 25 And 1.||--||14-10|
|Anthony Cowan finished with 20 points and seven assists in Friday's 75-66 victory at Illinois. The Terrapins will take a six-game winning streak into Tuesday's game with Nebraska.||--||17-14|
|M.J. Walker scored a team-high 14 points in Saturday's 99-81 victory over Miami. Florida State is 13-1 in its past 14 games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Virginia.||--||18-7|
|Sandro Mamukelashvili finished with 17 points and eight rebounds in Saturday's 70-64 victory at Villanova. The Pirates have a three-game lead in the Big East standings with just seven regular-season games remaining.||--||14-13|
|Tre Jones finished with 28 points and six assists in Saturday's 98-96 overtime victory at North Carolina. The Blue Devils will take a five-game winning streak into Monday's game with Florida State.||--||13-11|
|Samir Doughty made five 3-pointers and finished with 26 points in Saturday's 91-90 overtime victory over LSU. Auburn is 10-2 in Quadrant 1/Quadrant 2 opportunities with zero losses outside of the first quadrant.||--||13-14|
|Lamar Stevens finished with a career-high 33 points in Saturday's 83-77 victory over Minnesota. The Nittany Lions will take a six-game winning streak into Tuesday's game at Purdue.||1||11-14|
|Tyler Bey finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds in Saturday's 81-74 victory over Stanford. The Buffaloes are 10-5 in Quadrant 1/Quadrant 2 opportunities with zero losses coming outside of the first two quadrants.||1||23-9|
|Nick Richards finished with 15 points and seven rebounds in Saturday's 77-64 win at Tennessee. The Wildcats are 6-1 in their past seven games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Auburn.||1||9-16|
|The Mountaineers shot 31.6% from the field in Saturday's 69-59 loss at Oklahoma. West Virginia is just 4-3 in its past seven games with all three losses coming to currently unranked teams.||1||19-10|
|Markus Howard made three 3-pointers and finished with 17 points in Sunday's 76-57 victory over Butler. Marquette is 6-1 in its past seven games with the lone loss in that stretch coming in overtime at Butler.||2||13-14|
|The Wildcats missed 18 of the 27 3-pointers they attempted in Saturday's 70-64 loss to Seton Hall. Villanova will take a three-game losing streak into Wednesday's game with Marquette.||--||18-7|
|The Bulldogs missed 16 of the 20 3-pointers they attempted in Sunday's 76-57 loss at Marquette. Butler is 3-5 in its past eight games with multiple losses to sub-50 KenPom teams.||6||10-15|
|Denzel Mahoney got 18 points off the bench in Saturday's 94-82 victory over St. John's. The Bluejays are 5-1 in their past six games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Providence.||--||22-9|
|Joe Wieskamp finished with 30 points and seven rebounds in Saturday's 96-72 victory over Nebraska. The Hawkeyes are 6-2 in their past eight games with the only losses in that stretch coming at Maryland and Purdue.||--||22-9|
|Payton Pritchard missed seven of the eight 3-pointers he attempted in Saturday's 63-53 loss at Oregon State. The Ducks will take a two-game losing streak into Thursday's game with Colorado.||--||21-7|
|The Tigers allowed Auburn to make 40.9% of the 44 3-pointers Bruce Pearl's team attempted in Saturday's 91-90 loss on the road. LSU will take a two-game losing streak into Tuesday's game with Missouri.||--||19-10|
|The Illini missed 10 of the 24 free throws they attempted in Friday's 75-66 loss to Maryland. Illinois will take a two-game losing streak into Tuesday's game with Michigan State.||--||24-7|
|Quentin Grimes finished with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists in Sunday's 76-43 victory over Wichita State. The Cougars are 7-1 in their past eight games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Cincinnati.||--||28-4|
|Zavier Simpson made four 3-pointers and finished with 16 points in Saturday's 77-68 victory over Michigan State. The win doubled as Michigan's sixth Quadrant 1 win.||1||23-5|
|Yoeli Childs finished with 32 points and six rebounds in Saturday's 90-76 victory over San Francisco. The Cougars are 11-2 with Childs in the lineup.||NR||20-7|