Stats to know: Michigan State vs. Kentucky

November, 12, 2013
11/12/13
11:36
AM ET
The top two teams in the nation will meet in the Champions Classic when No. 2 Michigan State faces No. 1 Kentucky Tuesday night (7:30 PM/ESPN).

This is the earliest No. 1 vs. No. 2 meeting by date in poll history. The previous earliest meeting was Nov. 29, 1975 when No. 1 Indiana defeated No. 2 UCLA 84-64 in St. Louis.

Top stats to know: Kentucky

• This is the first time John Calipari has coached a team ranked No. 1 in the preseason AP poll. However, it’s the fourth time in his five seasons in Lexington that his team has been ranked preseason Top 5. The Wildcats are the third team in AP Poll history to open the season No. 1 after finishing the previous season unranked. They're the only team to do it since the poll expanded to 25 teams in 1989.


• Kentucky enters the season with arguably the best recruiting class ever, according to the 2013 ESPN 100 rankings. Kentucky signed eight players overall, including three ranked No. 1 at their positions (PF Julius Randle, PG Andrew Harrison and SG Aaron Harrison), five in the Top 10 and six ranked in the Top 25 overall!

• Kentucky averaged 108.0 points per 100 possessions last season, tied for third-best in the SEC. However, that was Kentucky’s lowest offensive efficiency since John Calipari became the head coach prior to the 2009-10 season.

Top stats to know: Michigan State

• Every four-year player at Michigan State under Tom Izzo (since the 1995-96 season) has made the Final Four. Seniors Keith Appling and Adreian Payne will try to avoid being the first ones not to make it.

• Expectations are high this year for the Spartans, who return a significant amount of their points (84.2 percent), rebounds (79.3 percent) and assists (84.0 percent) from last year’s Sweet 16 team.

• Michigan State scored nearly half of its points in the paint last year, ranking fifth among Power Six conferences.

Spotlight player: Adreian Payne

Michigan State’s Adreian Payne is a key component of a team that returned 84 percent of its scoring from last season. He was the only Power Six conference player who shot at least 50 percent from the field (54.6), 80 percent from the free throw line (84.8) and 35 percent from behind the arc (38.1).

No. 1 vs. No. 2 history

This is the first game between teams ranked 1-2 in the AP Poll since Feb. 23, 2008 when No.2 Tennessee Volunteers knocked off top-ranked Memphis Tigers.

This will be the 39th time the AP’s No. 1 and 2 teams have met since the poll began on Jan. 20, 1949. The teams have split the previous 38 meetings (19 wins for each). The second-ranked team has won two straight and six of the last seven meetings.

Kentucky is 3-0 against No. 2 teams in the AP Poll when ranked No. 1, but its last such game was in 1966 when the Wildcats beat Duke Blue Devils in the national semifinals.

Michigan State is 3-19 all-time against AP No. 1 ranked teams.

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