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Ohio State could be without Keita Bates-Diop for tonight’s game against Penn State

Tate, Jackson and Wesson will have to step up if KBD can’t go.

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

As the Ohio State Buckeyes take to the hardwood tonight against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Value City Arena, it looks like there is a chance that they will be doing so without their best player. According to the Ohio State Athletic Department, junior Keita Bates-Diop is dealing with an illness, and is questionable for tonight’s game.

Bates-Diop is the Big Ten’s leader in points per game with 19.7, and currently sits in third in terms of rebounding, with 8.8 boards per contest. After missing most of last season due to a stress fracture in his left leg, Bates-Diop has returned to the court to become the single biggest factor in the Buckeyes’ reemergence as a B1G power.

Throughout new head coach Chris Holtmann’s first season, KBD has been the most consistent player, often taking the team on his back when nothing else was working. If Bates-Diop does end up missing tonight’s game, the onus will fall on fellow veterans Jae’Sean Tate and C.J. Jackson, as well as freshman Kaleb Wesson, to pick up the slack in terms of scoring, rebounding, and leadership.

OSU (18-4, 9-0) is riding an eight-game winning streak, and is looking to move to 10-0 in Big Ten play, while Penn State has lost their last two games (to Northwestern and Minnesota respectively), and currently sits at 3-5 in conference and 13-8 overall.

The Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions will tip off tonight at 8 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network.