A transcendent performance by Georgetown's Otto Porter Jr. in a win at Syracuse, followed by his game-winning drive four days later in overtime at Connecticut, catapulted the sophomore forward into the national player of the year conversation.
But Michigan sophomore Trey Burke made the last retort of the regular season, a tiebreaking strip and a breakaway dunk with 22 seconds in a win over Michigan State on March 3.
On the strength of that play, Burke (19.2 ppg, 6.8 apg), a 6-foot point guard, is the leading vote-getter in a national player of the year straw poll conducted by ESPN.
Burke (139 points) is the choice over Indiana guard Victor Oladipo (101 points) and Porter (77 points). The poll has successfully predicted the last two national players of the year -- BYU's Jimmer Fredette (2011) and Kentucky's Anthony Davis (2012) -- though those votes were much more decisive.
Burke tallied 31 first-place votes, ahead of Oladipo (16), Porter (12), Creighton's Doug McDermott (four), Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk (three) and Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart (one).
- Kevin Dunleavy