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2015 Bracketology: Purdue’s January 14 Profile

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A big win for North Carolina State keeps things looking up for Purdue.

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

With no midweek game there is not a lot Purdue can do to improve its overall NCAA profile, but as I keep saying, we're at the point where only winning can help. The Gardner-Webb and North Florida losses left such a small margin for error that only a good Big Ten season will do.

I guess the good news is that right now, every Big Ten victory improves the profile. When Rutgers beat Wisconsin it greatly boosted their profile despite a similar number of bad losses. They are far from being the joke that many thought they would be. In fact, if you look at conference RPIs right now, Purdue is currently the worst at 130. That means two things:

1.       We have nowhere to go but up.

2.       Every win is guaranteed to improve the profile.

If Purdue can win their next 2-3 games the RPI will almost certainly get out of the 100s. Only three other teams in the Big Ten are in the 100s right now with Northwestern (123), Nebraska (121), and Minnesota (119). The Boilers probably need to win all three of those games left against those three to have a chance, which is good, because before the season I felt a split with Minnesota was going to be sufficient. A split is secured, so we should go for the sweep.

Purdue RPI: 130

Purdue KenPom: 79

Best wins: BYU (RPI 53, KenPom 40), NC State (RPI 33, KenPom 47)

Bad Losses: North Florida (RPI 203, KenPom 173), Kansas State (RPI 138, KenPom 96), Gardner-Webb (RPI 131, KenPom 206)

Samford - 6-12, 0-6 SoCon, RPI: 322, KenPom: 300 - Since the last update Samford has dropped a pair of games and is dead least in the Southern Conference at 0-6. They fell 77-67 to the Citadel and 72-62 to Wofford, who could have a real, live at large profile from the SoCon.

IUPUI - 6-11, 2-1 Summit, RPI: 239, KenPom: 278 - The Hoosiermakers got a nice Saturday win over Denver 52049 and will play tonight at South Dakota State, one of the better teams in the in Summit League. It is still very, very early, but IUPUI has done very well within their conference.

Grambling State - 2-12, 0-4 MEAC, RPI: 334, KenPom 351 - Grambling lost to Southern 59-53 and Alcorn State 72-70, but at least they do not have such a huge gap right now between last (351) in KenPom and the next team. Their Pythagorean rating is an abysmal .0249, but Florida A&M, who is 0-16, is close now at .0269. Maybe Grambling is not the worst team in the country.

Kansas State - 9-7, 2-1 Big 12, RPI: 138, KenPom: 96 - The Wildcats pulled off a major upset on Saturday by upsetting Oklahoma in Norman 66-63 on Saturday. They have a chance to make a little hay in the Big 12 by hosting Texas Tech tonight and Baylor this weekend before going to Iowa State. If they can get into the top 100 via Big 12 play it will look a lot better for us.

Missouri - 7-9, 1-2 SEC, RPI: 178, KenPom: 156 - When Missouri upset LSU last week I thought it was a sign they could do some damage in the SEC. Then their last two games happened. They lost at Auburn 85-79 and then last night, with a chance to make a major statement, they were crushed by Kentucky 86-37.

BYU - 14-5, 4-2 WCC, RPI: 53, KenPom: 40 - BYU dropped a game in WCC that was not to St. Mary's or Gonzaga when Pepperdine won 67-61 at BYU. They rebounded with an 85-72 win over Loyola Marymount. On Saturday they go to St. Mary's which is a huge game if they are going to stay in the race for the WCC. It is also a huge game for BYU's NCAA hopes, as they will likely battle St. Mary's for the second bid from their conference.

North Carolina State - 12-5, 3-1 ACC, RPI: 33, KenPom: 47 - Thank you, NC State. Their 87-75 win at home over Duke this past week was a huge boost for Purdue and definitely keeps NC State as a quality victory. Even with Duke getting crushed at home by Miami last night it is still a very good win for the Wolfpack. Tonight NC State hosts North Carolina with another chance for a big win.

North Florida - 9-9, 0-0 Atlantic Sun, RPI: 203, KenPom: 173 - The Ospreys lead the Atlantic Sun! They won a cross-town game against Jacksonville 86-63 to start conference play with a victory. I suppose they could win that conference, as Florida gulf Coast is the highest rated team at 146. That is who North Florida hosts tonight.

IPFW - 8-9, 1-3 Summit, RPI: 286, KenPom: 270 - So much for IPFW being the favorite in the Summit League. They beat Denver last Thursday 69-63 but fell at home to South Dakota 64-62 to fall to last place in the conference. Their next two games are on the road at Oral Roberts and South Dakota State.

Arkansas State - 6-8, 1-4 Sun Belt, RPI: 302, KenPom: 270 - It looks like their highlight for the season was their win over Rick Ray and Mississippi State. This past week they lost 73-61 to Georgia Southern and 77-50 to Texas-Arlington. It is a common refrain for our non-conference opponents, but they sit last in the Sun Belt.

Vanderbilt - 11-4, 1-1 SEC, RPI: 72, KenPom: 54 - Only one game since the last update, and it was not a bad loss. Vanderbilt went to Arkansas, who might be the second best team in the SEC, 82-70. Tonight they host a decent Georgia team and go to Mississippi State this weekend.

Notre Dame - 15-2, 3-1 ACC, RPI: 47, KenPom: 15 - Notre Dame hosted Virginia this past weekend and lost to one of two remaining undefeated teams in the country 62-56. Tonight the Irish go to Georgia tech before hosting a suddenly hot Miami team this weekend.

Gardner-Webb -11-6, 3-1 Big South, RPI: 131, KenPom: 206 - The Bulldogs at least did their part this week by winning a pair of close games to keep pace in the Big South. They beat Radford 88-85 in overtime and survived Winthrop 65-64. What's more disturbing is that Purdue played seven teams that are .500 or better in non-conference play and went only 2-5 against them. At least the two wins were pretty good.