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Buckeye Latecomer

Player of the Week

Keita Bates Diop, Ohio State

Keita Bates-DiopKeita Bates-DiopThe terrific statlines continued for Bates-Diop this week as he posted an average of 17.5 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists leading the Buckeyes to back-to-back wins, the first of which was a shocking beatdown of Wisconsin at the always-tough Kohl Center, then a solid win over Michigan. He continues to average 17 PPG and 10 RPG, and 44% shooting from 3, as the upstart Buckeyes are currently exceeding expectations in Big Ten play, especially after tough losses to Clemson and Butler. Bates-Diop is emerging in his senior season on both sides of the ball.

Who’s Hot?

Reggie Lynch, Minnesota

After a wild win over a stellar young Alabama team featuring 5-on-3 basketball, the Gophers failed to continue the momentum in a loss to #10 Miami before righting the ship in an easy home victory over Rutgers to open their conference schedule. Jordan Murphy has been putting up the points and the gaudy rebounding totals, but at the 5, Reggie Lynch is the anchor for this team. He might be the best post defender in the nation, and in his two games this week, he averaged a statline of 14 points, 9.5 rebounds, 6 blocks, 2 assists, and 67% shooting. He leads the nation in blocks per game (4.8) and is nearly a whole block per game ahead of second (4.0). Efficient on both ends, Lynch is quietly one of the most important players in the Big Ten.

Isaac Haas, Purdue

The 7’2” senior wasn’t much more than a big body inside in a solid win over a ranked Louisville team, totalling 9 points and 4 rebounds on 2/7 shooting, but he absolutely took over in scoring 46 points in 3 days as the Boilermakers toppled Maryland and Northwestern to take a share of the early Big Ten lead. He’s a foul-drawing machine, averaging 6.7 free throws per contest and connecting on 79% of them, and he was remarkably efficient this week, shooting 61% from the floor. After being an underwhelming rebounder for his size for much of his college career, he is starting to play like a 7’2” senior when it comes to hitting the glass and that showed with 9 boards against Northwestern.

Anthony Cowan, Maryland

A tough loss on their home court to Purdue was followed up with by a gritty road win at Illinois in overtime for the Terrapins. Through the ups and downs, the sophomore point guard was a model of consistency, showing his range (8/12 from 3), his vision (11 assists across the two games), and his quick hands (5 total steals). All in all, Cowan scored 47 points on 14/27 shooting this week and is carrying the Terrapins in all kinds of Melo Trimble-esque ways. 7 turnovers against Illinois was unsightly but you have to see them as more or less offset by the 0 turnover performance he turned in against Purdue.

Who’s Not?

Ethan Happ, Wisconsin

What’s going on with the Badgers? Their 5 losses are all to potential tournament teams, but they have yet to beat any notable competition either. Their fearless junior leader drew a lot of responsibility this year as the primary scorer in the wake of the departures of Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes, and this week, he wasn’t a big part of the solution as the Badgers got crushed by Ohio State and just squeaked by Penn State. In both games, he scored in single figures, and shooting for the week came out to an abysmal 28%. He fouled out against Penn State and had to watch his team finish the job. Happ will turn things around this season but right now, he’s not playing at a very high level and Wisconsin is coming up short more often than not this year in this schedule.

Tony Carr, Penn State

At first glance, the numbers from this week look nice for Tony Carr, and indeed, the 29 points in a loss to NC State was marvelous, but the Nittany Lions nearly dropped one to an underwhelming, young Iowa team in addition to two other losses against unranked teams this week. Carr followed up a 33% shooting performance with a 23% performance, and while the assists and rebounds (11 and 22 this week, respectively) are nice, the shooting was all over the place this week for the conference’s 2nd-leading scorer.

Top 5 Shooters

1) Dakota Mathias, Purdue

Mathias’ hot start has just been a pickup from where he left off last season. 6th in the conference in 3-point percentage among those qualified and first in makes, Mathias is the only player in the top 6 to have already shot >40% last season from outside. Throw in his great perimeter defense and laser passing, and Mathias is a dark horse conference Player of the Year award.

2) Jordan Bohannon, Iowa

The sophomore was a fearless shooter as a freshman and his percentages are even higher this season, connecting on 49% of his outside looks. While the going has been tough for the Hawkeyes, Bohannon’s consistency from deep is one constant as he has made one in every game.

3) Jared Nickens, Maryland

Nickens has been raining bombs for four years at Maryland and has begun his season off at a feverish 54% outside shooting clip. Perhaps his signature shooting performance was a 4/4 outside shooting night against Maryland-Eastern Shore in November.

4) Kevin Huerter, Maryland

Huerter has bumped up a nice 37% outside shooting clip from last season to an even nicer 45% thus far this season. His ability to stretch the floor creates all kinds of space for Anthony Cowan to get to the hoop, and there have been plenty of times where Huerter has been the main source of offense for the Terps.

5) Duncan Robinson, Michigan

He’s off to a sluggish start by his standards, connecting on 36% of his outside looks, but this 44% career outside shooter is absolutely lethal. He’s getting starters minutes again this season, and with all that time on the floor, those shooting numbers should return to more of what he’s used to.

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