Another game on the schedule and another win for the Illinois basketball program.
Illinois is now up to a seven-game winning streak led by future first-team All-American, Ayo Dosunmu. Ayo’s ascension to superstar has been quick. He continues to be the main staple in what is one of the best programs in the country.
Ayo is putting up amazing numbers on a team that is in the top five nationally. But people still think that he isn’t the top guy for the John R. Wooden Award. According to BetMGM, there are five true contenders for the award.
Iowa’s Luka Garza leads with Jared Butler out of Baylor in second. Ayo is then the third-favorite, as he is tied with Corey Kispert and Drew Timme, both out of Gonzaga. I am here to tell you, Ayo should be the Wooden Award winner. He is the best player in the country, and I will lay out my case.
Here are four reasons Ayo Dosunmu should win the John R. Wooden Award.
1. Quality of competition
Illinois, once again, went up against a solid Big Ten team on Saturday night and came home with a victory. This has become a regular thing with the Illini this season.
Minnesota is No. 61 in the NET Rankings, and it was a Big Ten game on the road. Both make this a decent victory. The quality of competition Ayo and the Illinois basketball team have played this season is one of the reasons why I believe Ayo should be the Wooden Award winner.
Ayo has had to go up against some elite competition. Overall, Illinois has played 11 Quad 1 programs. That is more than Gonzaga (7), Baylor (6) and Iowa (10). So, right off the bat, Ayo has gone up against a tougher set of teams.
Let’s add Quad 2 into the mix. Ayo has played against a total of 16 Quad 1 and 2 programs this season. That means 76.2-percent of the teams Illinois has played this season are in the first two quads. Once again, that is more than Gonzaga (12), Baylor (8) and Iowa (15)
So that leaves Quad 3 and 4. Illinois has only played five teams from these two quads. That means only five teams have been, essentially, cupcakes for the Illini this season. Only 23.8-percent of Illinois’ schedule was against bad competition.
Gonzaga can’t say the same, as they have 10 Quad 3 and 4 wins, which is 45.5-percent of their schedule. Almost half of the Bulldogs’ games have come against bad teams. Baylor has nine Quad 3 and 4 wins, which comes out to 52.9-percent of their games. More often than not, the Bears are going up against bad teams. Iowa is the closest to the Illini, as they only have seven Quad 3 and 4 wins, which is 31.8-percent of their schedule.
The Wooden Award winner should be someone who has gone through the grind. The winner should be someone who has played against the best competition and still emerged as a great player. Illinois’ schedule shows that despite playing against better competition than his counterparts, Ayo is still elevating his game to the highest levels.