The race for the SEC’s Player of the Year award is far from over with just one game remaining in the regular season.
Four teams still have a realistic chance to earn the top spot in the standings, which means Saturday’s slate of games will be pivotal for conference tournament seeding and even NCAA Tournament standing.
Saturday provides an opportunity for someone to stand out with a prolific performance that helps carry his team to victory and perhaps a regular-season championship. Here’s a look at where the Player of the Year race stands as the weekend begins:
1. Tyler Ulis, Kentucky
Ulis leads the SEC with 7.1 assists per game and is sixth in scoring with an average of 16.7 points per game. He has a gaudy 3.63 assist-to-turnover ratio and has been the engine that has kept Kentucky afloat during what’s been a down season by the Wildcats’ standards.
The point guard is truly a floor general in every sense of the phrase. He takes control of Big Blue when necessary and seamlessly relays coach John Calipari’s coaching. Ulis could lock up the award with one more efficient performance in what could be his final game at Rupp Arena.
Interestingly, Ulis will have a chance to clinch the award against the next person on this list.
2. Ben Simmons, LSU
Simmons has mostly been everything as advertised in his first and most likely last season in Baton Rouge, La. Simmons ranks fourth in scoring with 19.7 points per game, he leads the conference with 11.9 rebounds per game and is third in the SEC with 5.1 assists.
If stat-sheet stuffing was the only criteria, the 6-foot-10 Australian would have the award locked up. The problem is Simmons’ team has not been as successful. LSU has underwhelmed this season and is one loss away from its NCAA Tournament bubble being popped. Simmons could surpass Ulis by upsetting Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Saturday. A tough task, but one that would cement Simmons as a legendary player.
3. Jalen Jones, Texas A&M
Jones doesn’t get much national recognition on a talented Texas A&M team, but he has been the Aggies’ go-to guy for much of the season. Jones leads the Aggies with 15.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
Jones is arguably the best player on the team that could win the conference’s regular-season title. That could be enough to land him Player of the Year honors.
4. Retin Obasohan, Alabama
Obasohan might be a longshot to win the award, but he also might be the most valuable player to his team in the conference. Obasohan is fifth in the SEC with 17.8 points per game and is one of the most efficient shooters in the conference with a 47.7 field-goal percentage.
The senior basically came out of nowhere this season and is the biggest reason why Alabama has vastly overachieved during coach Avery Johnson’s first season.
5. Stefan Moody, Ole Miss
It’s crazy that the conference’s leading scorer is this low on the list, but Ole Miss’ lackluster season makes Moody an unlikely contender.
Moody’s season cannot be taken lightly, however. The senior is averaging 23.4 points per game with three 30-point games and a 43-point outing in his most recent performance. Moody is a pure volume scorer who nobody wants to see in the SEC Tournament.