Tristen Newton and R.J. Davis are among our best bets to win the 2024 March Madness MOP award.
Tristen Newton and R.J. Davis are among our best bets to win the 2024 March Madness MOP award.

March Madness Most Outstanding Player (MOP) Best Bets

As we look into best bets for 2024’s Most Outstanding Player, keep FAU guard Johnell Davis and Nevada guard Jarod Lucas in mind as potential fliers to win the award.

The Most Outstanding Player award is given to the player voted the March Madness MVP at the end of every NCAA Tournament. Recent winners include:

2023: Adam Sanogo, Connecticut

2022: Ochai Agbaji, Kansas

2021: Jared Butler, Baylor

2020: None (Covid Year)

2019: Kyle Guy, Virginia

2018: Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova

In this article, we will share our best bet picks for the 2024 March Madness tournament. This includes our best bet, best value bet, and a longshot bet for each region.

Best MOP Bet: Tristen Newton (UConn)

There’s one player on UConn that needs to show up each and every game in order for them to win back-to-back titles. That player is the nightly triple-double threat, Tristen Newton. After a rockstar performance in the Big East Tournament after averaging 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists during the season, Newton should be the favorite to win this award due to his stat stuffing playstyle.

Not to mention, the guard also can light it up from downtown shooting 37% or better in all of his Big East Tourney games in The Garden. Outside of Adama Sanogo last season, a guard has won this award in each of the last nine tournaments dating back to 2012, so Newton should be at the top of your list for the favorite to win the championship in the Huskies.

Best Value MOP Bet: R.J. Davis (North Carolina)

While UConn remains the favorite to lift the title, North Carolina has the easiest path to Phoenix in our eyes. More deep and physical than any team in their region, more consistent than Arizona and Baylor, and possessing a lethal combo in R.J. Davis and Armando Bacot, this team could roll through without any scratches.

Davis could easily become a flamethrower in this tournament similar to the way Caleb Love was a few years back. CLove averaged 18.8 PPG on less than 38% shooting from the field in the ‘Heels 2022 tournament run.

Not only is Davis a more efficient scorer, but he’s by far Carolina’s primary outside scoring option as Cormac Ryan, Harrison Ingram, and Elliott Cadeau struggle to stay consistent from beyond the arc.

Best MOP Longshot in Every Region

Johnell Davis (FAU)

East Region

If you want to stand out in your bracket pool or earn “I told you so” points, this FAU/UConn matchup is one you might have to bite the bullet on. After watching FAU dismantle Arizona for nearly 100 points in Vegas in December, not only did I realize Dusty May is one of the best coaches in the nation, but Johnell Davis is a serious NBA prospect.

Davis has averaged 18.2 PPG on 42.5% shooting from beyond the arc this season. Last season, he only needed to average 15.4 PPG on 15.8% shooting from beyond the arc to lead FAU to the Final Four. The Owls should take the Huskies down to the final few possessions this weekend and if the Owls manage to get past the favorite, watch out for another run from Dusty May and company.

Jarod Lucas (Nevada)

West Region

This Nevada team is finally healthy and with the backcourt duo of Jarod Lucas (17.8 PPG on 39.7% 3PT) and Kenan Blackshear (15 PPG, 5 RPG, 5 APG), they can beat anybody in the country.

A slower-paced team, they will give Dayton, Arizona, Baylor, and Carolina problems and will have home-court advantage in virtually every game including the Final Four should they make it there.

Lucas showed up big time in Nevada’s Diamond Head Classic Tournament victory earlier this season. Look for him to make a huge impact from the 3-point line in this tournament as well.

Chucky Hepburn (Wisconsin)

South Region

If Wisco makes a run, it won’t be solely due to AJ Storr’s elite shot making, or Tyler Wahl’s post defense. It will be due to Chucky Hepburn’s creativity on both ends of the floor. After securing the win on the defensive side of the ball, taking a charge to give the Badgers the ball down 1 with 13 seconds left against Purdue in the Big Ten Semi-Final, I knew this kid could do something special in the tournament.

Should Wisconsin get past a tall 12-seeded task in JMU, they would match up well against Duke and then would have a toss-up low scoring affair against Houston. Expect the Big Ten Championship loss to propel this team to make an unexpected run and Chucky to dominate guard matchups in his region.

Trey Alexander (Creighton)

Midwest Region

Creighton has a fairly easy path to make it to their Elite 8 barring a toss up game against Tennessee. After Trey Alexander’s outstanding Junior season and huge games against tournament teams (Marquette: 18P/11A, UConn: 16P/4A, Alabama: 22P), there isn’t a doubt in my mind that this team and Alexander can compete against Purdue, Tennessee, or the other teams in the Midwest region.

This team has proven they can make it past the first weekend before and with a solid draw this tournament, expect a deep run led by the do-it-all guard.

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