Since most of the country has this week off, including almost all of Purdue's non-conference opponents, I can do the weekly RPI update a little early. Purdue does not play again until facing Butler in Indianapolis on Saturday, and there are only three non-conference games left.
Fortunately, two of Purdue's strongest non-conference games are in the final three games here. A week ago Purdue's RPI was way down at 205. Now, despite not having a top 100 win, the Boilers have risen all the way to 131. We're at least trending in the right direction and several other teams like Michigan (140), Florida State (106), and other with at large hopes are around us.
Northern Kentucky (1-7, 0-0 Atlantic Sun) RPI: 291 - NKU suffers a drop of 50 points and is threatening to slip to the bad side of the 300 line after losing to Tennessee-Martin last week. Their lone victory was over Tulane, who is slipping after a hot start. NKU ventures to North Carolina on December 27, and we all know they have been up and down. That is the best chance to get anything out of this win.
Central Connecticut State (2-6, 0-0 Northeast) RPI: 224 - CCSU makes a big jump this week from being over 300 to 224, mostly because they won a game then played a top 5 team. CCSU got its second win of the season by beating New Hampshire 65-56. On Saturday they went to Ohio State and actually played a good game against the No. 5 Buckeyes. They fell by just 18, which is improvement when you consider Purdue blasted them by 36 and scored 109 points.
Rider (4-4, 0-0 MAAC) RPI: 148 - Rider's value skyrocketed by over 100 points and is now in the top 150. We can thank them for victories over Monmouth and Quinnipiac, which got them to .500 on the season at 4-4. This is still a potential NCAA team from the MAAC, but it will take the MAAC Tournament title to get there.
Eastern Illinois (3-6, 0-0 Ohio Valley) RPI: 318 - EIU is now officially the weakest team we have played in terms of RPI. They slipped over the 300 line and have officially lost four in a row. They lost by 28 to Western Illinois in a game where they scored just 32 points. NCAA hopeful Indiana State won at EIU on Saturday 66-48. The Panthers are currently 342nd nationally in scoring.
Siena (3-8, 1-1 MAAC) RPI: 232 - Like it or not, we've doubled down on Siena and at least this week their RPI rose over 30 spots. They were one of the first teams in the country to start conference play with a win over Niagara and a loss to Canisius after losing the second game to Purdue. As if we weren't tied to Siena enough already, they play Rider on January 4 and February 23.
Oklahoma State (8-1, 0-0 Big 12) RPI: 15 - The Cowboys played just once last week, and it was an impressive 79-52 win at home against South Carolina. Oklahoma State had a 25-2 run in the game and proved that SEC basketball is far worse than SEC football. OSU is not just an NCAA lock, they are a possible No. 1 seed.
Washington State (4-4, 0-0 Pac-12) RPI: 125 - We can't do anything about the Wazzu loss now except hope they climb into the top 11 of the RPI and it avoids the "bad loss" label as a result. A 67-66 win over Idaho on Saturday at least moved them up to No. 125 after Steven Madison hit two free throws with 30 seconds left. The Cougars have four home games before a trip to No. 1 Arizona. Colorado and Oregon will also raise hteir profile.
Boston College (3-6, 0-0 ACC) RPI: 102 - The Eagles are still Purdue's best win on paper, but they followed up their loss in West Lafayette with a 78-62 loss a Southern Cal on Saturday. They are one of the few teams playing this week as they open ACC play at home against Maryland. Obviously the better BC does in ACC play, the better off for us in the end.
Eastern Michigan (5-3, 0-0 MAC) RPI: 128 - Eastern Michigan has lost three in a row but showed they are a decent team on Saturday whent hey nearly sprung another upset of Purdue. Our hope is now that they make a lot of noise in the MAC. They get a game against Wisconsin-Green Bay tomorrow night before some time off. Trips to Duke and Syracuse loom as possible large upset that would make us look really, really good.
Butler (6-2, 0-0 Big East) RPI: 50 - Purdue gets a second chance at a top 50 win when it plays the Bulldogs on Saturday, and it almost feels like a must-win if we're going have any help from the non-conference schedule. Yes it is a neutral site game, but it is a virtual road game with it being a few miles from Butlers campus plus the pro-IU crowd from the opening game that will turn on Purdue. It is our first chance to see Purdue in a hostile environment.
As far as results, Butler beat North Dakota 79-64 on Saturday and hosts non-D1 Manchester tonight at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Maryland-Eastern Shore (2-4, 0-0 MEAC) RPI: 308 - No change for UMES, as they continue to be idle until going to Oregon State this weekend.
West Virginia (6-3, 0-0 Big 12) RPI: 75 - I almost thought they started 0-1 in Big 12 play before I realized that the 80-71 loss at Missouri was not a conference game. The Mountaineers have a big home game tomorrow night on ESPN2 we can check out as they face No. 20 Gonzaga. The RPI is getting stronger and a win over Gonzaga will probably move them into the top 50. West Virginia has a lot of chances to help us with two games each against Oklahoma State, Kansas, Baylor, and Iowa State.