He doesn’t get the headlines that some of the other stars in the Big Ten do, but Ohio State junior forward Keita Bates-Diop is quietly having a season that could end up earning him Big Ten Player of the Year honors come March.
And this past week was his best week yet.
The 6-foot-7 combo-forward went for 27 points and 13 boards in a win at Iowa before exploding for 32 points and seven boards as the Buckeyes ran then-No. 1 Michigan State out of Columbus, 80-64. Bates-Diop spent much of Sunday evening squaring off with Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson, both of whom are potential top ten picks in the 2018 NBA Draft.
If you’ve been paying attention, that performance shouldn’t really surprise you all that much, either.
On the season, Bates-Diop is now averaging 20.0 points, 8.8 boards, 1.6 blocks and 1.2 steals. He’s been tremendous, one of the biggest reasons that the Buckeyes are now in a position where they look not only like an NCAA tournament team, but like the third-best team in the Big Ten.
It makes you wonder: If KBD was not injured for so much of last season, would Thad Matta still be the head coach of Ohio State?
THE ALL-‘THEY WERE GOOD, TOO’ TEAM
- KEENAN EVANS, Texas Tech: After finishign with 15 points, six boards and three assists in a dominating win at Kansas, Evans went for 27 points and four assists in another impressive win over Kansas State.
- MARKUS HOWARD, Marquette: Howard set a Big East record earlier this week by scoring 52 points in an overtime win at Providence. He scored 42 of those points after halftime, and followed that up by going for 37 points and eight assists in a 10-point loss at Villanova.
- TREMONT WATERS, LSU: Waters hit the shot of the season to date on Saturday, burying a 30-foot three with a hand in his face with just 0.7 seconds left on the clock as the Tigers went into College Station and beat No. 11 Texas A&M.
- CHRIS CHIOZZA, Florida: Florida had a massive week, winning at No. 11 Texas A&M and at Missouri. Chiozza averaged 12.5 points, 7.5 assists and 2.5 steals in the wins, including a game-winning, buzzer-beating layup off of a steal at Missouri.
- T.J. GIBBS, Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish beat N.C. State at home without Bonzie Colson on Wednesday. They then went into the Carrier Dome and beat Syracuse without Colson or Matt Farrell. Gibbs averaged 20.0 points, 5.5 boards and 4.5 assists in the two wins.