2014 NCAA Tournament Bracketology: Purdue on January 16

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue's NCAA profile is looking better, but still needs some overall work.

Last night was absolutely huge for Purdue's NCAA Tournament hopes. Not only did the Boilers get an important road win over a top 50 team, they won in their only meeting (unless we meet in Indy) over a team they're directly competing with for a berth. Now, if the committee is looking directly at Purdue and Illinois on selection Sunday they will see we won on their floor in the only meeting. Also, if the Big Ten is going to be an eight team league we're now that 8th team.

Of course, last night's victory is not a guarantee we're in the NCAA Tournament. There is still a lot of work to do in the terms of likely needing eight more Big Ten wins. Currently, the RPI is too low at No. 84 according to WarrenNolan.com, but it was over 100 yesterday before winning at Illinois. As long as Purdue goes 5-0 in the remaining games against the bottom thereof Nebraska, Northwestern, and Penn State three more wins against the rest of the Big Ten should raise the overall profile enough.

As I said last week, just win, baby!

Purdue

RPI: 84

KenPom: 82

Vs. Top 50: 2-3

Vs. 51-100: 2-1

Northern Kentucky (7-11, 3-3 Atlantic Sun) - RPI: 260, KenPom: 295 - The Norse dropped both games since the last update. Both were on the road by very similar scores in conference play. They fell 73-64 at South Carolina Upstate and 74-65 at East Tennessee State. Their conference is led by Mercer and Florida Gulf Coast, who are both 4-1 in the league.

Central Connecticut State (4-11, 0-2 Northeast) - RPI: 336, KenPom: 329 - CCSU also lost both games since their last update. They started Northeast Conference play with n 88-59 home loss to Wagner and then lost at home 75-67 to St. Francis (PA). Wagner and Robert Morris are their early conference leaders at 2-0, but St. Francis (NY) is the only team in the entire conference with a winning record.

Rider (8-7, 4-2 MAAC) - RPI: 163, KenPom: 193 - The Broncs stayed on pace to be a possible NCAA team, or at the very least in some postseason tournament, with a split in their MAAC games. They had a close 94-91 loss at Canisius, but turned around and won 90-78 at Niagara to move to 4-2 in their league. They are a game behind Manhattan, Canisius, and Iona for first place in their league.

Eastern Illinois (5-11, 2-3 Ohio Valley) - RPI: 303, KenPom: 321 - Not a lot to say here, but EIU at least won a conference game with a victory over Jacksonville State 56-48. They also dropped an 81-69 game to Tennessee Tech. Belmont, with wins over Indiana State and North Carolina, is the heavy favorite in their league and could be in line for an at large berth.

Siena (7-10, 3-3 MAAC) - RPI: 206, KenPom: 196 - The double-shock win got very slightly better  with a split last week in MAAC play, but right now they hurt us more when they beat Rider last week to keep the Broncs out of first place. This week they beat Marist 67-58 but lost to Iona 87-78.

Oklahoma State (15-2, 3-1 Big 12) - RPI: 11, KenPom: 11 - The Cowboys are a half game behind Kansas for first place in what is rated as the top RPI conference. This is after a very late road win at West Virginia that hurt Purdue because a WVU victory would have made Purdue's win that much better. OSU also beat TCU 82-50 to move to 3-1 in the Big 12.

Washington State (8-9, 1-4 Pac-12) - RPI: 137, KenPom: 158 - Yes, this is now a "bad loss". The Cougars got their first Pac-12 win with a 49-46 home win over Utah, but they lost at Stanford 80-48. The second half of the Wazzu game is probably the worst half of basketball that the Boilers have had all season and had that game been a win playing St. Joseph's (No. 63 in the RPI) would have helped a lot more than a second game against Siena.

Boston College (5-12, 1-3 ACC) - RPI: 133, KenPom: 155 - Boston College gave it a game this week, but lost at home 69-59 to undefeated Syracuse. This was after picking up an ACC road win over Virginia Tech 62-59. There are lots of chances for them to become a better team with plenty of top 100 games left, but this team is 1-11 against the top 100.

Eastern Michigan (10-6, 2-1 MAC) - RPI: 48, KenPom: 104 - In terms of the RPI this remains Purdue's best victory. Illinois is 50 in the RPI, but EMU is No. 48 thanks to a very strong non-conference schedule. They split their MC game last week with a loss to Buffalo 76-66 (a decent loss) and a win over Western Michigan 56-37. They are tied for the West Division lead at 2-1 with Toledo and Western Michigan.

Butler (10-7, 0-5 Big East) - RPI: 91, KenPom: 89 - The Bulldogs cannot catch a break. They are 0-5 in the Big East with three losses in overtime to send them spiraling completely off the Bubble. Had they won those three games (DePaul, Georgetown, and Villanova) they would be an NCAA lock. All five losses are to top 100 teams, but at some point Butler has to win these games and they are currently dead last in the conference.

Maryland-Eastern Shore (2-13, 0-3 MEAC) - RPI: 339, KenPom: 343 - Even with a 66-62 loss to Norfolk State their RPI went up, but it is hard to go down much more. I am mostly tracking UMES to see if they end up as the worst team in the country officially.

West Virginia (10-7, 2-2 Big 12) - RPI: 98, KenPom: 61 - Thanks a lot, Markel Brown. Brown hit a very late three-pointer to give Oklahoma State a 73-72 win at West Virginia on Saturday. The Mountaineers followed that with an 80-69 loss at home to Texas. Those were two great chances for this to be an excellent win and have them in first place in the Big 12. There are plenty of other chances, but it will be an uphill battle for WVU.

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