EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, college basketball columnist Kyle Tucker will name a Starting Five — his favorite five players from across the country at that particular moment in time. As guys heat up and cool off, this list will change over the course of the season.
G Trae Young, 6-2, Fr., Oklahoma
Oh, look, another huge game from the electric freshman: 29 points and 9 assists in a narrow win over Southern Cal. And now here comes the most fun matchup of the weekend: Young and the 7-1 Sooners against Landry Shamet and the third-ranked Shockers on Saturday (4 p.m. ET on ESPN2).
G Trevon Bluiett, 6-6, Sr., Xavier
He made it three straight games with 25-plus after piling up 25 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and a steal in a rout of Colorado. He’s averaging 21.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and shooting 47 percent from three — and is the biggest reason the Musketeers are now ranked 10th in the AP poll.
F Nick King, 6-7, Sr., Middle Tennessee
Get to know this name. The Blue Raiders have beaten consecutive SEC opponents — Vanderbilt and Ole Miss — and King has combined for 48 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists in those games. He’s scored 20-plus in seven straight games and is averaging 24.3, 6.6 and 2.3.
F Jordan Murphy, 6-6, Jr., Minnesota
Welcome back to The Five, Mr. Murphy. In the last week, he went for 20 and 10 against Arkansas and then 24 points, 18 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 assists against Drake. That adds up to 12 consecutive double-doubles to start the season and an average of 20.3 and 13.
C Deandre Ayton, 7-1, Fr., Arizona
The Wildcats’ miserable start muted early praise for Ayton, but he is a monster. Four straight wins, including quality W’s over UNLV, Texas A&M and Alabama, have put Ayton back in the spotlight. He went for 29 points and 18 rebounds against the Crimson Tide and is now averaging 20.5 and 11.9. He’s also made six 3-pointers, which is something to see from such a giant human.
ON THE BENCH
* Duke freshman Marvin Bagley III is still the best player in America, but he’s coming off a mortal performance — 15 points and 12 rebounds — in a bad loss to Boston College. And he’s not playing again until next Wednesday, 11 games between games. But with seven straight double-doubles and averages of 21.3 and 11.3, he’ll be back in the Starting Five soon enough.
* Just as soon as we declared Villanova junior Mikal Bridges a star for dropping 28 points on Gonzaga, he hit just 7 of 21 shots, 1 of 7 from 3-point range, and scored 17 total points against La Salle and Temple. On the bright side, the Wildcats are still undefeated and now ranked No. 1. (Maybe we should consider teammate Jalen Brunson for this list after he went for 31 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 0 turnovers against the Owls.)
* North Carolina junior Luke Maye is riding a streak of three straight double-doubles — and averaging 19.9 points and 10.5 rebounds for the season — but his 12, 12 and 5 assists against Western Carolina was just OK by his own standards. He and the No. 7 Tar Heels have a huge game Sunday at No. 20 Tennessee (3 p.m. ET on ESPN).