We're still alive.
Beating top 25 teams in consecutive games will do wonders for an NCAA profile. As you'll see this week, we helped ourselves more than the teams we have beaten helped us, but after letting last week's game against Illinois slip away Purdue earned a couple of big home wins to stay alive for the NCAA Tournament. Going back to the baseball series analogy, Purdue won the first series 2-1, lost the second 1-2, and is already 2-0 in series three before the Northwestern game. A sweep gets us right back on track for the 12-6 record needed.
In other good news, the win over Indiana is now Purdue's best in terms of the RPI and the Hoosiers are the highest rated team left. Purdue has a chance to go on a bit of a run now with five games against teams rated 97 or worse in the next six games. If we can take care of business there things will look much better going into the rematch with Indiana.
Purdue RPI: 85 (Up from 110)
Purdue KenPom: 63 (Up one from 78)
Best wins: Indiana (RPI 39, KenPom 50), Iowa (RPI 52, KenPom 45), NC State (RPI 56, KenPom 57), BYU (RPI 57, KenPom 38)
Bad Losses: North Florida (RPI 185, KenPom 133), Gardner-Webb (RPI 133, KenPom 203)
Samford - 9-14, 2-8 SoCon, RPI: 313, KenPom: 296 - Samford actually won a pair of conference games after an 0-8 start in SoCon play. They beat UNC-Greensboro 89-78 last Thursday before beating Western Carolina 78-72 on Saturday. This weekend they play Furman.
IUPUI - 8-13, 4-3 Summit, RPI: 216, KenPom: 240 - Another week, another split for the Hoosiermakers. League leader North Dakota State came to Indianapolis and earned a 69-61 win over IUPUI last Thursday. IUPUI followed that with a 65-50 home win over South Dakota. IUPUI is in a three-way tie for third place in the Summit League at 4-3.
Grambling State - 2-15, 0-7 MEAC, RPI: 348, KenPom 351 - Grambling is approaching the double of being the last place team in both the RPI and in KenPom. A 74-63 loss to Jackson State knocked them back behind Florida A&M for 351st and dead last in the KenPom. In the RPI they are still ahead of Liberty, Central Arkansas, and Florida A&M. They are currently one of four teams (San Jose State, Central Arkansas, and Florida A&M) who does not have a D-I win this season.
Kansas State - 12-9, 5-3 Big 12, RPI: 89, KenPom: 74 - The Wildcats are doing very, very well in Big 12 play and that fact is probably helping us. Right now, they are not a fourth "bad loss" in the non-conference. They had a good 63-53 win over Oklahoma State on Saturday before losing to West Virginia 65-59 earlier this week. At the very least, beating K-State, losing to Arizona, and beating Pittsburgh would probably look better right now than the Maui slate we have, but not by much.
Missouri - 7-11, 1-4 SEC, RPI: 160, KenPom: 159 - I cannot figure Missouri out. They got a very good win earlier over LSU, but have followed it with five straight losses now and they are in last place in the SEC. Saturday they had a 61-60 loss to Arkansas that, at No 18 in the RPI, could have really helped us. Tonight they can give us a huge boost as they host Kentucky, but the Wildcats already trounced them 86-37 a few weeks ago.
BYU - 15-7, 5-4 WCC, RPI: 57, KenPom: 38 - The Fightin' Mormons are not cooperating. They lost 77-74 at San Diego and have fallen well off the pace in the WCC. Right now they are not an at large team and they probably need to win out, including a win at Gonzaga, to have a chance. Their next two games are at home against San Francisco and Santa Clara.
North Carolina State - 13-9, 4-5 ACC, RPI: 56, KenPom: 57 - NC State has now lost three in a row and five of their last seven to also fall off the Bubble. Miami beat them 65-60 last week, which was not a bad loss. They had a chance to beat Notre Dame over the weekend before losing 81-78 in overtime. Last night they had a 68-57 loss at home to Clemson that could be crippling.
North Florida - 13-9, 5-0 Atlantic Sun, RPI: 185, KenPom: 133 - Here come the mighty Ospreys! They have now won three straight road games and they are 5-0 in their conference after beating Northern Kentucky 74-66 and Lipscomb 75-66. Tonight they host a bad Kennesaw State team and they should be in good shape with only three road games total left. Amazingly, they have only played two games at home against D-I competition so far. They have already beaten the second place teams in their league once, so they could be in good shape to win their conference.
IPFW - 9-11, 2-5 Summit, RPI: 286, KenPom: 247 - IPFW went and made a mess of things by upsetting Summit League leader North Dakota State 77-71 last Saturday, completely throwing that league into flux. Tonight the Mastodons are at South Dakota before going to Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday.
Arkansas State - 9-10, 4-6 Sun Belt, RPI: 253, KenPom: 246 - Arkansas State continues to be a middling Sun Belt team with no real value. They lost 96-59 to Louisiana-Lafayette before beating Troy 64-55 in their last game. Tonight they host Arkansas-Little Rock
Vanderbilt - 11-9, 1-6 SEC, RPI: 115, KenPom: 60 - Vanderbilt has become the Northwestern of the SEC. They won their first conference game, but have now lost six in a row all in relatively close games. This week they lost at home to LSU 79-75 before losing at Georgia 70-62.
Notre Dame - 20-2, 8-1 ACC, RPI: 26, KenPom: 13 - Notre Dame is making a case for a No. 1 seed with only a loss to undefeated Virginia since late November. They stomped Virginia Tech last week 85-60 before surviving NC State as noted above. Last night's 77-73 win over Duke gives them a leg up for when (if?) Virginia stumbles.
Gardner-Webb - 13-9, 5-4 Big South, RPI: 133, KenPom: 203 - The second half collapse vs. GW really hurts now. They beat Longwood 79-67 last week but lost 93-80 to Charleston Southern on Saturday. That preceded a terrible 78-59 loss to Campbell on Monday this week. They are still only two games back in a very tightly packed Big South race.