2013-14 Purdue Basketball: Non-Conference RPI Update December 4

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After striking out in Orlando Purdue faces three straight top 100 opponents desperately needing to enhance their profile.

In terms of the RPI, Purdue plays its best home opponent tonight until the Big Ten season begins. That's one of the reasons the Boston College game is a big one. They may not be an NCAA team, but by virtue of who they play it will still be a quality win that boosts Purdue's overall profile. After missing a couple of chances in Orlando it is needed.

The other down side to the Old Spice Classic is that Purdue now has Siena counting twice in our profile. Playing a team like Butler twice would help a lot more than playing Siena, a team that will struggle to get into the top 200 all season long. It also give Purdue just 12 non-conference opponents to use as comparison as the usual 13.

As we enter tonight's game Purdue has an extremely low RPI of 205, which is a drop of 85 spots from last week. Do not worry, however, as it will rise quickly with some wins in Big Ten play.  Purdue currently does not have a win better than No. 241 and has only played one team (Oklahoma State) in the top 160. That can change immediately tonight, as Boston College is a top 100 team despite being 3-4.

Northern Kentucky (1-6, 0-0 Atlantic Sun) RPI: 241 - At the moment this is Purdue's best win and that is rather sad. NKU has lost its last two games to Southeast Missouri State and Texas State and appears to be in for a long season. Basically, Purdue avoided being saddled with an anchor when it made the late comeback in the opener to win by one.

Central Connecticut State (1-5, 0-0 Northeast) RPI: 302 - CCSU rose over 40 spots in this week's RPI thanks to getting their first win, a 74-71 win over New Jersey Institute of Technology. Yes, NJIT is a Division I school. CCSU followed that with a loss to Brown. It is likely that CCSU will struggle to get into the top 300 all year.

Rider (2-4, 0-0 MAAC) RPI: 264 - Rider's RPI is up 10 spots this week after going 1-2 last week. The Broncs got a nice win over Rice from Conference USA, but lost to Albany and North Dakota State, both by double digits. Their best chance to help us is still on December 21 at Villanova.

Eastern Illinois (3-2, 0-0 Ohio Valley) RPI: 258 - The Panthers dropped several spots this week with a pair of losses to IPFW and Western Kentucky. Tonight they have a battle of directional Illinois schools when they go to Western Illinois before hosting Indiana State this weekend. The Sycamores are the highest profile team they have yet to play at 106.

Siena (2-7, 0-0 MAAC) RPI: 265 - The Saints provided a little more value than beating a team like Chaminade out in Maui next year, mostly because they actually count in the RPI, whereas a non-D1 game does not. That's just about all we can say. The double wins will not help much unless they go on a tear in MAAC play because their Old Spice opponents were the best they have played by far. Manhattan at No. 93 is the best they have left.

Oklahoma State (7-1, 0-0 Big 12) RPI: 16 - Oklahoma State lost in the final down in Orlando to fall to 7-1 on the season, but since the loss was to Memphis it was actually a season split with the Tigers. The hole Purdue dug against them was too deep, but at least this will not be a bad loss in any sense of the word. OSU could be a No. 1 seed in March, so we learned Purdue can at least be competitive with one of the best teams in the country.

Washington State (3-4, 0-0 Pac-12) RPI: 162 - The Cougars did us no favors after we sucked in the second half against them, as they lost the fourth place game to St. Joseph's 72-67. I am not too worried about the RPI though. Being in the Pac-12 will raise it considerably as the season goes along, especially if they can win a few games. If it gets into the 100s it won't hurt too badly.

Boston College (3-4, 0-0 ACC) RPI: 83 - Purdue simply cannot afford to lose this game tonight. BC is 3-4, but has lost to some good teams in Providence, UMass, Toledo, and Connecticut. Three of those losses were either in overtime or within a possess and three of those four teams have been undefeated. The other side of the coin is that they needed overtime last week to get past 1-6 Sacred Heart. At worst this is a win over a major conference team that will at least get better in January and February.

Eastern Michigan (5-2, 0-0 MAC) RPI: 81 - Who knew the Eastern Michigan game would be a big game? The Eagles lost two in a row, but they were to Kentucky by 18 and UMass by 12 after leading at halftime. Both of those teams are ranked too, so this is not your typical MAC team. They also have later games at Duke and Syracuse, so with a victory and some success in the MAC this can be a surprising top 100 win later on. It is certainly better than Siena twice.

Butler (5-2, 0-0 Big East) RPI: 49 - Butler will close a critical stretch of three straight non-conference games for Purdue against top 100 teams within the next 10 days, and playing them on a neutral floor in Indianapolis carries more weight than playing them at Mackey Arena. Being in the new Big East also helps, because their schedule strength will never dip too much with plenty of strong games. Unfortunately for us they could not close in Orlando. They lost to Oklahoma State because Khyle Marshall missed two free throws with 8.4 seconds left. They lost the next game in overtime to LSU. Still, this is the most likely NCAA Tournament team of Purdue's 12 non-conference opponents. the chance to knock of an undefeated Butler in Indy next Saturday would have been huge.

Maryland-Eastern Shore (2-4, 0-0 MEAC) RPI: 305 - UMES had a huge drop this week of almost 100 spots in the RPI. Losing to Navy and Maryland-Baltimore County will do that, however. In a strange twist they do not play again until December 15 at Oregon State, then they fly back across the country to play Purdue two days after that. All I can say about them is get your Three-Point Thursday funds ready.

West Virginia (6-2, 0-0 Big 12) RPI: 91 - This becomes a critical game now as it is a chance for a true non-conference road win at a top 100 team. The Mountaineers went to Cancun over the holiday and beat Old Dominion before losing to Wisconsin. They then came back and beat Loyola-Maryland Monday night. Beofre playing Purdue they get a game at Missouri tomorrow before hosting Gonzaga next week.

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