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Non-Conference Opponents Update #2

With most of the country plugging away through finals there isn't a huge update this week. Only a handful of schools are even playing games. Games like last night's 60+ point drubbing that Texas handed out to Texas-Pan American hardly qualify as games anyway. There is not a top 25 matchup until this weekend, but there are some big ones that could allow Purdue to move up. In the meantime, here is what all of our non-conference opponents have been up to since our last update.

Overall out schedule looks much tougher on paper than it did last year. That will only help with seeding. Yes wins over Tennessee and Wake Forest (as opposed to losses to Oklahoma and Duke) look better, but we're getting small boosts from out other opponents as well. Remember, Eastern Michigan, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and Detroit were among the worst teams in Division 1 last year. South Dakota State and SIU-Edwardsville may be our worst opponents, but they are better than them. Every little bit helps.

Cal State Northridge (4-5, 0-0 Big West) - The Matadors have only played once since last Monday's update, and that was an 89-82 loss at Denver. They do have their first home game in two weeks tonight when they host Drexel. Tuesday they have a chance for a major conference win when they travel to Colorado.

South Dakota State (4-7, 1-1 Summit) - SDSU has been busy since last Monday. They grabbed a non-division 1 win over Southwest State (Minnesota) before dropping games at Nevada and at home against Cal Poly. This is a program that is still going through some growing pains with the move up to Division 1. Keep your eyes peeled next Wednesday night when they have a very interesting game in the Barn against Minnesota.

St. Joseph's (3-6, 0-0 Atlantic 10) - The Hawks continue to be in freefall after the 3-0 start. Losses to Villanova and at Minnesota were brutal. St. Joseph's played no defense at all in giving up 97 points to both teams. The 97-89 loss to Villanova was in a tough Big 5 game and would have been a nice comparison to see how well we matched up with the Wildcats. The Hawks are off until Sunday when they face Lehigh.

Tennessee (8-1, 0-0 SEC) - We continue to be the only blemish on the Volunteers' record. Tennessee notched a neutral court win over Middle Tennessee State in Nashville over the weekend then outlasted a pesky Wyoming team last night. The Cowboys trailed by one at the half before Tennessee pulled away for a 19 point win. The Volunteers will continue an impressive non-conference schedule Saturday when they visit USC in Los Angeles.

Central Michigan (4-5, 0-0 MAC) - Somehow, this didn't make it into Defend That, Digger, but the Chips grabbed a win over a Big East team this weekend. They completed the trip by winning 59-56 at South Florida on Sunday. Digger would argue that the Bulls aren't really in the Big East since they are at the bottom, but screw him. This is a step forward for the Chippewas as they look to improve greatly in MAC play. Their next game is Saturday at fellow opponent South Dakota State.

Wake Forest (6-2, 0-0 ACC) - Wake has had just one game since the last update, but it was an easy 90-50 win over Elon College. They head out on the road tonight by going to a dangerous UNC-Wilmington team that has already upset Penn State this year. The Seahawks will certainly be motivated to face an ACC foe in their gym. Credit to the Demon Deacons for not being afraid to play there, either.

Buffalo (5-3, 0-0 MAC) - The Bulls have won their last two games in a pair of regional rivalry contests. They knocked off Niagara 86-80 on the road before beating non-D1 Buffalo State 93-65. They don't play again until Tuesday, when they face an enigmatic Wisconsin-Green Bay team that has upset Wisconsin, but got drilled by Oakland. That game is at Green Bay.

Valparaiso (4-5, 0-1 Horizon) - The Crusaders snapped a two game losing streak by thrashing Toledo at home 81-49 on Saturday. They have a non-Division 1 game against Concordia (Wisconsin) this Saturday night before trips to IPFW and Akron.

Alabama (6-3, 0-0 SEC) - The Crimson Tide should be able to recover tonight with a relatively easy home game against Samford. I still think this is an NCAA caliber team. None of the three losses are horrible (Cornell is a very good team) and they can rack up a lot of wins in SEC play. The Michigan and Baylor wins have the potential for plenty of mileage as well. They also get another shot at a ranked team Saturday when they host a very hot Kansas State team.

Ball State (3-4, 0-0 MAC) - The Cardinals have split a pair of games since we saw them last. They got some in-state bragging rights with a 68-63 win at Indiana State, but they dropped a game at Tennessee Tech 86-81 in overtime. Remember, this team is still coming out from under a pretty hefty scandal a few years ago. I'll have more on them later this week as we get ready to face them at Conseco. As an added note, I have been approved for a press pass for the Wooden Tradition, so I will likely be running a CoverItLive from inside Conseco on Saturday.

Southern Illinois-Edwardsville (2-8) - The Cougars continue to struggle with their provisional division status. They recently lost a pair of games in the Nashville area to Middle Tennessee State and Lipscomb. They are playing a lot of road game for paychecks this season as a division one independent. They have 15 road games scheduled. Most of their home games are against fellow independent teams.

West Virginia (7-0, 0-0 Big East) - West Virginia grabbed a pair of relatively easy wins over Duquesne and Coppin State to stay undefeated. Each win was by at least 26 points. They face a potentially tricky road game at Cleveland State this weekend, but they have only really been tested by Texas A&M in the 76 Classic so far. Before coming to Purdue they do have a tricky slate of Mississippi, Seton Hall, and Marquette.