Thomas has been 14th-ranked Ohio State's most consistent threat, and one of the best scorers in Division I. If only the Buckeyes could win more big games. He leads the team in scoring (20.5), rebounds (6.7) and 3-pointers (49), and is averaging 20.8 points and 4.6 boards against Top-25 teams. Unfortunately, the Buckeyes are 1-4 in those games. But Thomas is so consistent (he hasn't scored fewer than 14 in a game) and so good (he shoots 47 percent from the field, 40 percent on 3's and 80 percent from the line) that he stays in the conversation. If he can carry this team to a Big Ten title, how can you not give it to him?
Does anyone wanna win this thing?
Not only are top teams falling right and left, but so are the performances of top players. Must mean it's conference play. How else do you explain the struggles of Duke's Mason Plumlee (pictured), who has dipped to 12.8 points on 45 percent shooting with 4.0 turnovers in the past six games. Indiana's Cody Zeller was held without a field goal (by Penn State!) on Wednesday, while Duke's Seth Curry, who'd been stepping up with big games, was held scoreless in 22 minutes (by Miami!). He won't be in the Wooden Watch again. So who's left this week?
Trey Burke, Michigan
Burke's back as the frontrunner despite a four-game shooting slump. He still leads the No. 2 Wolverines in scoring (17.8), assists (7.2) and steals (1.3) while shooting 50 percent from the field, 38 percent on 3's and 80 percent from the line. And with turnovers, he's had one or none in eight of the past 10 games. Michigan likely will be the new No. 1 with a win Sunday at Illinois. The last time the Wolverines were in that position, Burke was shut down by Aaron Craft in a loss at Ohio State, their only one. Burke will be facing a more potent scorer in D.J. Richardson, coming off a career-high 30 points, on Sunday. Good chance for both Burke and Michigan to earn that top spot.
Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
Syracuse's sophomore point guard has been both brilliant and brutal. But as the Orange continue to rise — now No. 3 after topping a top-ranked Louisville team — Carter-Williams is right in the middle of it all. He had a season-high eight turnovers against the Cardinals and two missed free throws in the final minute that gave Louisville chances to win. But he had a go-ahead 3 with 5:28 remaining, followed by a steal and go-ahead dunk with 23 seconds left as he scored 11 of his team's final 13 points, including the last four. He added a rebound and another steal at the end to cap a 16-point, seven-assist game. "Michael was the reason we won," teammate Brandon Triche said. And Carter-Williams came back with another 16-and-7 night (with better shooting and only 3 turnovers) to edge Cincinnati.
Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga
Watch out, there's a new 7-footer on the block. Olynyk has been huge for the No. 10 Zags, leading them in scoring (18.5), shooting (67.4) and free throws (82.2). He became the first Zag with back-to-back 30-point games since Adam Morrison earlier this month. And after a quiet 14 and 7 in Saturday's heartbreaker vs. Butler, he had perhaps his best game, scoring 26 against BYU on 9-for-9 shooting and 8-for-8 from the line. There's no ignoring this guy anymore.