The No. 3 Michigan State Spartans probably won't go undefeated in Big Ten play, because no team has gone undefeated in Big Ten play since the Indiana Hoosiers did so in 1975-76 — and no non-conference team beat them, either, since that Indiana team was the last team to go undefeated. But the Spartans are one of two Big Ten teams without a loss in conference play this season (the other is Michigan), so who's up next for them?
It's Indiana, and the two play on Michigan State's home floor 7 p.m. ET Tuesday on ESPN.
The Hoosiers are an interesting matchup with Michigan State, and what was looking like a down year for Tom Crean's squad had something of a week last week in which fortunes seemed gleefully reversed with a 75-72 win over previously unbeaten Wisconsin, which was good, and then a 54-47 loss to Northwestern, which was bad. Indiana's defense has been one of its best under Crean, and Northwestern has one of the least effective and least efficient offenses in all of Division I (and the very worst among all major-conference teams among to KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency).
So the Hoosiers can try to somehow right that Tuesday against Michigan State. Indiana's 40.6 offensive rebounding percentage is sixth in the country, surely the strength of its offense. But the Spartans only allow opponents to grab 27.3 percent of offensive rebound opportunities, 29th-best in Division I, one of many strengths to Tom Izzo's defense.
And now to preview, in brief and with focus on teams nationally ranked, the rest of Tuesday's action in college basketball:
No. 22 Kansas State Wildcats at Texas Longhorns, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2/WatchESPN: Kansas State had three bad early losses — heck, it opened its season with a 60-58 home loss to Northern Colorado and then lost two games in Puerto Rico within the next two weeks — but things seemed to have stabilized. Yes, there was the 86-60 loss at Kansas on Jan. 11, but that's going to happen the way the Jayhawks have played lately. There, I just accounted for every game Kansas State has lost this season.
Texas also has four losses, all to top-50 teams in KenPom.com's team ratings, yet the Longhorns received a total of five points in this week's Associated Press Top 25. Coming off a 10-point home win over the Iowa State Cyclones, Texas is not a great matchup for Kansas State. The Wildcats keep the pace as slow as they can — KenPom rates their tempo as 319th in Division I — and Texas runs the floor fast and keeps possessions short. At 15.8 seconds per possession, Texas has the 27th-fastest tempo among 351 Division I teams.
Clemson Tigers at No. 20 Pittsburgh Panthers, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN3: You'll have to stream it, which means you'll need to be logged on to the Internet at home or at the library for at least two hours, but ESPN3's Tuesday night matchup between Clemson and Pittsburgh features a pair of one-loss ACC teams, which is weird because Clemson wasn't projected to be among the upper third of the league standings even just a handful of games into the season, and it's also weird because it's still a bit strange to see Pitt in the ACC.
Save a 66-64 road loss to Auburn, Clemson's resume has been outstanding so far this season. The Tigers have the best three-point defense in the country, and they block a lot of shots. Combine those two factors with the slow pace they keep, and they've only allowed more than 60 points three times all season. Pitt doesn't keep its pace any different, but the Panthers' offense will be another challenge for a Tigers defense that held Duke to 59 points on Jan. 11. Pitt's Lamar Patterson has been one of the best players in the country this season, averaging 17.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.
Texas A&M Aggies at No. 14 Kentucky Wildcats, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN: Texas A&M is the only SEC team to have beaten John Calipari at Rupp Arena, and this is the Aggies' first trip back since doing the deed on Jan. 12, 2013. Of course, that was the Wildcats team that ended up in the NIT, and the Aggies won that game in large part because of Elston Turner's 40-point supergame. Turner was a senior last year; thus, he will not be in Rupp Arena on Tuesday, nor will most of the players responsible for Kentucky's dysfunction and ultimate collapse last season.
Kentucky freshman point guard Andrew Harrison had his best career game Saturday against Tennessee, finishing with 26 points, three assists and no turnovers in the Wildcats' 74-66 win.