We had a rare thing happen on Saturday: The predominant frontrunner for National Player of the Year (Buddy Hield) faced off against the predominant frontrunner for National Freshman of the Year (Ben Simmons).
Not only that, but it came this late in the season in a nonconference game. It is most unusual, indeed, and very fun. The TV powers-that-be masking themselves as schedule-makers gave us a really nice Saturday. The Buddy vs. Ben angle was one of a few really intriguing matchups gifted to a national audience on a weekend wherein college basketball had the nation’s attention.
And wouldn’t you know it, Hield has done it again. He’s the clear-cut pick this week for our Player of the Week award after his Sooners came from 14 points down at LSU, rallied to a win and in the process will certainly hold on to the No. 1 ranking when the latest polls are released on Monday afternoon.
Hield averaged 31.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and shot 20-for-32 from the field in OU’s wins against Texas Tech and LSU last week. In the LSU game, Hield went nuts. He cashed seven second-half 3s, put up 32 points, and all of this led to Isaiah Cousins sinking the winning shot. Because Oklahoma has such a sturdy lineup, it’s not like Hield’s the only guy that can hurt you — so he was a great decoy on the Sooners’ final possession.
Hield’s scored 30 points or more eight times this season. He’s cracked the 25-point mark in 11 of Oklahoma’s 20 games. He’s hitting 4.35 3s per game, which is the best in the country — and he’s shooting 52.4 percent from deep; an outrageous clip. His season averages: 26.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.4 steals.
That is why he is in command of every major player of the year chase.
Hield puts @OU_MBBall ahead with ANOTHER three. #BIG12SEC https://t.co/rhI2dICec0
— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) January 30, 2016
Previous winners this season of the CBS Sports Player of the Week:
Week 1: Grayson Allen, Duke
Week 2: Denzel Valentine, Michigan State
Week 3: Kyle Collinsworth, BYU
Week 4: A.J. English, Iona
Week 5: Troy Williams, Indiana
Week 6: Brice Johnson, North Carolina
Week 7: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Week 8: Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa
Week 9: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Week 10: Shawn Long, Louisiana-Lafayette
Week 11: Juan’ya Green, Hofstra