GAME OF THE NIGHT: Indiana at No. 3 Michigan State, 7:00 p.m.
Indiana is coming off one of the weirder stretches we’ve seen from any team this season. Last Tuesday, they notched a big win over then-No. 3 Wisconsin at home, earning themselves some credibility as a legitimate Big Ten threat and a team with a real shot at getting an NCAA tournament bid. The Hoosiers followed that up with … losing at home to Northwestern? Indiana mustered all of 47 points in that game, which is concerning. Tom Crean’s club has offensive issues this season, and Northwestern was able to cut off any and all penetration by the Hoosiers. Can the Spartans do the same?
WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 22 Kansas State at Texas, 7:00 p.m.
Is Texas actually a tournament team this season? It’s starting to look more and more like it. The Longhorns suddenly have one of the more productive front courts in the Big 12 and Rick Barnes has a handful of young and talented back court players at his disposal. Kansas State, on the other hand, is the only team currently in the Big 12 that is within a game of first place Kansas in the conference standings. Fall two games off the pace, and the Jayhawks could end up coasting to the league title.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:
1) Missouri and LSU are both currently sitting at 2-2 in SEC play after entering the season with expectations of competing for an NCAA tournament bid. They square off tonight.
2) No. 20 Pitt hosts Clemson, who is 4-1 in the ACC as of right now. The Tigers already own a win over Duke. Are they truly going to be a contender in the ACC this year? If they win at Pitt, they probably will be.
3) No. 14 Kentucky hosts Texas A&M. Will the Wildcats try to get revenge for getting tricked into hiring Billy Gillispie?
4) New Mexico and Boise State are the only two teams in the MWC that have a chance to earn an at-large bid outside of San Diego State. They play tonight at 9:15.
5) Four key bubble matchups: Temple at UConn, Rutgers at SMU, Notre Dame at Florida State and Butler at Providence
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.