Thanks to beating Minnesota on Wednesday the Boilermakers are still somewhat alive for the NCAA Tournament. There is a ton of work to do in 11 more conference win (though 10 more might be enough depending on the Bubble), but a comeback win over a very good Minnesota team at least shows some fight. Purdue easily could have turtle, but it finally returned to playing Purdue-style basketball and it paid off.
Yes, I recognize that making the NCAA Tournament is still unlikely, but with the rest of the Big Ten just not looking that great and with finally seeing what we can do when motivated there is at least a chance. We might as well play the next 17 games and see what happens.
Purdue RPI: 128 (Up 20 spots from last week)
Purdue KenPom: 83 (Up two sports from last week)
Best wins: BYU (RPI 29, KenPom 36), NC State (RPI 75, KenPom 81), Minnesota (RPI 78, KenPom 29)
Bad Losses: Kansas State (RPI 178, KenPom 105), North Florida (RPI 193, KenPom 172)
Samford - 6-8, 0-2 SoCon, RPI: 324, KenPom: 31 - Samford gets a very slight bump up this week thanks to beating Campbell and Auburn-Montgomery. They head back into conference play on a very modest four game winning streak and their next game is against No. 39 in the RPI Wofford. They have two games with the Terriers coming up, and Wofford is the only team in the top 150 they have on their schedule.
IUPUI - 4-10, 0-0 Summit, RPI: 283, KenPom: 309 - IUPUI got a very nice win over Pepperdine 55-53 on Saturday to give their RPI a boost. They followed that with a 70-49 loss at North Carolina Central on Monday. They head into conference play at 4-10and will open up against IPFW in Fort Wayne on Sunday.
Grambling State - 2-8, 0-0 MEAC, RPI: 224, KenPom 351 - Grambling hasn't played since the last update, so no real change. They are still by far the worst KenPom team in the country, but they have played the third toughest out of conference schedule in the nation.
Kansas State - 7-6, 0-0 Big 12, RPI: 178, KenPom: 105 - It is a bit of a catch-22 with Kansas State. They are a bad loss, especially after Georgia and Texas Southern last week, but if we had not lost to them we would not have the win over BYU raising us up. The question to ask is this: If Purdue had beaten Kansas State (replacing Missouri as a roughly equal win) does it beat Arizona, Pittsburgh, or San Diego State to replace BYU? Purdue probably loses to Arizona (No. 10 in the RPI) and beats Pittsburgh (No. 74), so it gets rid of a bad loss, replaces it with a very good loss in Arizona, and replaces an excellent BYU win with an average one over Pitt.
Missouri - 6-7, 0-0 SEC, RPI: 164, KenPom: 154 - Missouri just missed helping us out yet again, falling to Oklahoma State 74-72 in a neutral site game in Kansas City. Missouri isn't going to make the tournament, but if they can do well in the SEC as a team that is showing some improvement they can crack the top 100 in both KenPom and the RPI, giving us another good win.
BYU - 12-4, 2-1 WCC, RPI: 29, KenPom: 36 - Right now this win is probably keeping Purdue alive. They missed out on getting a good win themselves by losing at home 87-80 to Gonzaga, but they should still be fine as long as they don't drop too many in WCC play. As usual, the WCC is a three-team race between Gonzaga, BYU, and St. Mary's. BYU did win conference games against Portland and Santa Clara after the Gonzaga loss.
North Carolina State - 10-4, 1-0 ACC, RPI: 75, KenPom: 81 - The Wolfpack lost their final non-conference game at home 76-60 to Cincinnati. Their overall profile is interesting. They are 0-3 in major non-conference games against Purdue, West Virginia, and Cincinnati, but other than a loss to Wofford they don't have a bad loss. If they do well in the ACC this victory will have plenty of value for Purdue.
North Florida - 7-8, 0-0 Atlantic Sun, RPI: 193, KenPom: 172 - North Florida continues to submarine us, and if Purdue goes something like 10-8 or 11-7 in the Big Ten and misses the NCAA Tournament the final three minutes of that UNF game will likely be what keeps the Boilers out. Purdue had the game won, up 7, but blew it. North Florida this past week had bad losses to Tennessee Tech 87-84 and 65-60 to Austin Peay. They play at Alabama tonight where an upset would really help.
IPFW - 7-6, 0-0 Summit, RPI: 239, KenPom: 249 - IPFW picked up games against Judson College (an 80-46 win) and Cal Poly (a 71-57 loss) since the last update. They are still the Summit League favorite, so we're banking on them winning a bad conference. That starts on Sunday against IUPUI at home. Winning the Summit League won't raise the RPI that much, but at least having a victory over a smaller conference champion will be nice.
Arkansas State - 6-4, 1-0 Sun Belt, RPI: 280, KenPom: 187 - Arkansas State started conference play with a 63-60 win over South Alabama. They are playing some pretty good basketball with a four game win streak, but they are not one of the favorites to win the Sun Belt.
Vanderbilt - 9-3, 0-0 SEC, RPI: 86, KenPom: 52 - The Commodores got a nice road win at St. Louis on Wednesday and they have a sneaky-tough game coming up this weekend against Yale, who has already beaten defending champion UConn. Win that game and Vanderbilt will at least battle to be an NCAA Tournament team, which is what we want.
Notre Dame - 13-1, 1-0 ACC, RPI: 71, KenPom: 18 - Notre Dame closed its non-conference schedule with an 87-60 win over Hartford and they continue to look like one of the top teams in the country. By no means is this a bad loss for Purdue, and at least Vanderbilt isn't looking like a bad loss, either.
Gardner-Webb - 9-5, 0-0 Big South, RPI: 73, KenPom: 160 - It will be interesting to see what Gardner Webb does in the Big South. They opened league play with an 81-64 win over Presbyterian and their RPI is still good enough for the win over Purdue to not be considered, statistically at least, a bad loss for us. They are the highest RPI team in their conference and only High Point, at No. 98, is also in the top 100. If they can win their league and stay in the top 100 the loss doesn't look that bad. As of right now, the North Florida loss is far worse.