March Madness 2018: Top NBA prospects to watch in West Region

The 2018 NCAA Tournament’s West Region is the most lackluster in terms of NBA prospects, but there’s still plenty to see. Here's a look at the top players to watch.

The 2018 NCAA Tournament’s West Region is the most lackluster in terms of NBA prospects, but there’s still plenty to see.

Here’s a look at the top players to watch, an unheralded name and which matchups to keep an eye out for.

BIG BOARD: Ranking top prospects ahead of March Madness

West Region's top NBA prospects

Michael Porter Jr. | Missouri

Current rank: No. 6

Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. is by far the best prospect in the region. The 6-10 combo forward returned to action for one game in the SEC Tournament after missing three months with a back injury. He wasn’t integrated into the offense and struggled to get into rhythm on the court. Porter could have an opportunity to play a big role in the Tigers’ opening-round game, however, as starting small forward Jordan Barnett is suspended.

Robert Williams | Texas A&M

Current rank: No. 16

Texas A&M may be college basketball’s most disappointing team this season, and Robert Williams may be the NBA Draft’s most disappointing prospect. Williams opted to return to school for a sophomore season in order to improve his draft position. Unfortunately, he hasn’t shown much progression. Williams still fits the rim-running, rim-protecting center archetype, but he’s undersized and plays out of position for the Aggies.

Keita Bates-Diop | Ohio State

Current rank: No. 22

After an injury cut his season short last year, Ohio State’s Keita Bates-Diop has bounced bag in a big way. The 6-7 small-ball power forward is averaging 23.7 points per 40 minutes this season on a 57.7 true shooting percentage. He’s knocked down 35.8 percent of his 3s while showing off his versatility on the defensive end. Bates-Diop is a competent weak-side rim protector and smart when it comes to getting into passing lanes.

Bender (Virginia) | Birdsong (Arizona) | DeCourcy (Villanova) | Fagan (Villanova)

Underrated NBA prospect to watch

Killian Tillie | Gonzaga

Current rank: No. 43

Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie made 13 of his 14 3-point attempts during the WCC Tournament a couple weeks back, which should get your ears perked up. The 6-10 Frenchman is one of the most versatile offensive bigs in the class. He’s impressively skilled with the ball in his hands and could be due for a breakout tournament.

Must-see first-round matchup

Michael Porter Jr. vs. Florida State

Porter’s played in just two college basketball games this season, and one of them didn’t really count. Getting eyes on him in a situation where he should play quite a few minutes will be valuable given the limited sample. Although Florida State isn’t very good defensively, the Seminoles do have enough athletes on the roster to give Porter a test.

NCAA BRACKET BREAKDOWNS: East | South | Midwest | West

West Region matchup we want to see

Keita Bates-Diop vs. Gonzaga’s frontcourt

This region is lacking in potential for high-profile matchups between top prospects later on in the tournament, but seeing Bates-Diop take on Tillie, Rui Hachimura (No. 51) and Johnathan Williams is interesting enough. Gonzaga’s one of the few frontcourts with enough versatility to really bother Bates-Diop on the offensive end.