Believe it or not, Keita Bates-Diop may not be the best player on the floor come Thursday when Ohio State takes on South Dakota State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

South Dakota State forward Mike Daum is an offensive force that can could potentially lead the Jackrabbits past the Buckeyes. He’s a NBA prospect because of his ability to stretch the floor.

They call him “The Dauminator” and for good reason, the two-time Summit League player of the year can do it all.

Daum is currently averaging 23.8 points per game, good enough for No. 6 in the nation. He also is a beast on the boards averaging 10.4 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, no player on Ohio State averages double digits in rebounds.

The 6-foot-9 junior can score from anywhere on the floor. On the season, Daum is shooting an eye-popping 42.1 percent from three.

Daum’s play this season has helped lead South Dakota State to a third-straight Summit League Championship and NCAA Tournament Appearance.

However, the Jackrabbits are still searching for their first win in the NCAA Tournament, overall they are 0-4 in the big dance. South Dakota State will have to go through a battle-tested Ohio State team and their many experienced players.

The Buckeyes will most likely have Bates-Diop guard Daum in what could be one of the most exciting match-ups of the tournament.

Keita Bates-Diop shared his thoughts about the upcoming game:

“It’s tournament time. Win or go home. When you come to a school like this, you come to play.”

Ohio State has a chance to make a run in the tournament but they need to take care of business first.

If the Buckeyes manage to stop Daum and the Jackrabbits, they will most likely see No. 4 seed Gonzaga in the second round. Gonzaga crushed the Buckeyes 85-59 earlier in the season.

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I am recent graduate of The Ohio State University who is currently following his dream of sports writing. I was born in Wayne, New Jersey and played football in high school all four years. In college I stuck to intramural basketball. Although not much of a scorer, I liked to consider myself a real gritty “bring your lunch pale to work” power forward with playing style being described as a mix between Reggie Evans and Rick Mahorn. I am a lifelong Denver Broncos and New York Yankees fan, a skeptical yet optimistic New Orleans Pelicans fan, and above all else a die hard Ohio State fan. @DSmythTheMyth18
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I am recent graduate of The Ohio State University who is currently following his dream of sports writing. I was born in Wayne, New Jersey and played football in high school all four years. In college I stuck to intramural basketball. Although not much of a scorer, I liked to consider myself a real gritty “bring your lunch pale to work” power forward with playing style being described as a mix between Reggie Evans and Rick Mahorn. I am a lifelong Denver Broncos and New York Yankees fan, a skeptical yet optimistic New Orleans Pelicans fan, and above all else a die hard Ohio State fan. @DSmythTheMyth18

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