Victor Oladipo (Indiana): There’s no getting around the fact that Victor Oladipo had, more or less, lost confidence in his ability to make a play on offense over the past month. But against Purdue, Oladipo absolutely exploded. He surpassed 20 points for the first time since Indiana’s second game against Chattanooga, and he tied a season-high in rebounds with eight. Beyond simply stats, Oladipo looked like a player that had reignited his own game, as he very masterfully defended the perimeter. If Oladipo is back to reaching his potential night in and night out, Indiana will be dangerous going forward.
Brandon Paul (Illinois): I’ve been a serious doubter of Paul all season, even after his 43-point effort against Ohio State, but the truth is, he might just be an All-Big Ten type player after seemingly finding his shooting stroke. He’s averaged a Big Ten-best 23.5 points in his last six games and has also tallied almost seven boards per game in that span. Of course, Illinois only won two of those games. So will it matter for his team that Paul is dominating the Big Ten landscape right now? Not so sure.
Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas): Aside from his missed free throws that devastated Kansas late against Missouri, Taylor has been an impressive player as the season has progressed, improving on his assist-to-turnover ratio (which was comically bad to start, like “11 turnovers against Duke” bad) and hitting shots at a better clip. Since Kansas defeated Baylor handily in mid-January, Taylor has shot better than 53 percent in every single Jayhawk game since. Taylor is the team’s most polarizing player, but lately, you could make a case that he’s also been the best.
Christian Watford (Indiana): He’s been all over the board stock-wise this season, and after a pretty poor week, Watford again finds himself on the way down. He scored a combined 12 points in Indiana’s last two games and added just nine combined rebounds to go along with that poor offensive effort. He just hasn’t been a factor, and that’s been a product of his continuing inconsistencies. In those two games, he’s shot just 3-of-14 from the field and hasn’t been as selective with his shots. He hasn’t hurt the Hoosiers playing like that just yet, but there’s a chance he could down the stretch if he doesn’t get on the right track.
Keith Appling (Michigan State): After a start that had some folks naming him as an All-Big Ten candidate, Appling has promptly fallen back to Earth in the past two weeks. He hasn’t put up more than 10 points in any of his last five games, and in that time, he’s had 1-of-8 and 1-of-11 performances from the field. That’s not good enough if Michigan State expects to contend in the Big Ten, let alone the NCAA Tournament. Appling has the potential to be a big-time playmaker from the point — he showed as much against Indiana — and Sparty will need him back on track soon.
Andre Drummond (Connecticut): Drummond was one of the most hyped players in the 2011 class and is listed by some as the No. 2 pick in next year’s draft. But his numbers haven’t been very indicative of that potential lately. Drummond played just 16 and 18 minutes in Connecticut’s last two games and scored a big goose egg in the Huskies’ latest loss to Louisville. He was just 3-of-13 in that period, and for a big man who rarely ever steps out and shoots, that’s a horrendous percentage. Will his draft stock fall? I’d have to think so eventually.
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