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Non-Conference Opponents Update: January 4

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Pittsburgh continues to play well, while Butler and Vanderbilt had bad weeks.

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

A new year means a new update for how Purdue's non-conference opponents are doing. As we learned last week, New Mexico fell off of a cliff. Almost everyone is now into conference play for their respective conferences, so teams like Howard and Vermont should start to have their records improve as they battle for their league's lone NCAA bid. For teams like Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt, and Florida it means a chance to improve already good profiles.

Purdue Boilermakers

RPI: 29

KenPom: 7

RPI top 50 wins: Florida (neutral floor), at Pittsburgh

KenPom top 50 wins: Florida (neutral floor), at Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt

North Carolina A&T (RPI: 281, KenPom: 297) - 5-10, 2-0 MEAC - North Carolina A&T only played once this past week, losing 61-60 at Kent State in a game against the No. 58 RPI team. After a final non-conference game on Tuesday at South Carolina Upstate they get back into MEAC play at Savannah State on Saturday.

Vermont (RPI: 121, KenPom: 139) - 8-7, 0-0 America East - The Catamounts had a big jump of 50 spots this week in the RPI this week with two nice wins. They beat Siena 73-64 before knocking off Harvard 65-62 on the road. Now they head into America east play with a road trip to Maine before hosting Albany on Saturday.

Incarnate Word (RPI: 170, KenPom: 181) 5-7, 0-1 Southland - The Cardinals beat Rice (the same Rice team that won at New Mexico) before losing their conference opener to Sam Houston State 78-72. Remember: Incarnate Word is not eligible for this year's NCAA Tournament after recently joining Division I.

Old Dominion (RPI: 180, KenPom: 99) - 8-6, 1-0 Conference USA - The Monarchs are now on a four game winning streak after a slow start. They beat Norfolk State 68-57 and then opened Conference USA play with a win over Charlotte 74-65. Thursday night they are at No. 65 Louisiana Tech.

Florida (RPI: 18, KenPom: 21) - 9-4, 1-0 SEC - The Gators dropped a heartbreaker to in-state rival Florida State 73-71 at home on Tuesday, but recovered to win their conference opener over Georgia 77-63. Tennessee and LSU are on tap this week.

Lehigh (RPI: 294, KenPom: 250) - 3-10, 1-1 Patriot League - So much for being the favorite in the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks lost their league opener 88-82 at home against Army but recovered to beat Boston University 81-73. The league is so weak that Army is the highest RPI team at 149.

Pittsburgh (RPI: 43, KenPom: 27) - 12-1, 1-0 ACC - Pittsburgh is in the top 25 and after beating Syracuse 72-61 they have an extremely early lead in the ACC. They knocked off the Orange 72-61 and later beat Maryland-eastern Shore 92-58. That caused their overall RPI to plummet, however, because UMES is at 268. The next three games will be very tough with Georgia Tech at home followed by a trip to Notre Dame and a trip to Louisville.

New Mexico (RPI: 119, KenPom: 100) - 9-6, 2-0 Mountain West - Thankfully, New Mexico stopped the bleeding after their disastrous trip to Hawaii. They are now 2-0 in the Mountain West after beating Nevada at home 88-76 and winning at Fresno State 77-62. Overall the Mountain West is pretty weak, so the tough non-conference schedule for the Lobos should help.

IUPUI (RPI: 210, KenPom 234) - 5-12, 1-1 Summit League - As expected, IUPUI lost the cross-town showdown with Butler 92-54. They then went into Summit League play and managed to play twice in three days. They won at South Dakota 77-66 before losing at Nebraska-Omaha 76-71.

Howard (RPI: 236, KenPom: 259) - 7-8, 1-1 MEAC - Howard had a rough week with all their travel. They lost 72-59 at Columbia before hoping a plane and flying 6 times zones over to Hawaii. That, too, was a loss 94-59.

Youngstown State (RPI: 260, KenPom: 246) - 5-9, 0-1 Horizon League - Horizon League play has begun for the Penguins and it started with a loss in their only game this past week. Detroit beat them 96-87 in the Motor City on Saturday. Tonight they play Oakland.

Butler (RPI: 40, KenPom: 35) - 11-3, 0-2 Big East - The Bulldogs, as mentioned above, had an easy win over IUPUI last week. Then Big East play began and it will cost them their top 10 rankings. Providence, No. 9 in the RPI, beat them 81-73 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. On Saturday they traveled to Xavier where the Musketeers, the No. 1 RPI team, beat them 88-69.

Vanderbilt (RPI: 74, KenPom: 26) - 8-5, 0-1 SEC - The Commodores had a comfortable home win over Western Michigan 86-61 to follow up their loss at Purdue. They then lost at home to LSU 90-82, which is a bad loss because LSU has Ben Simmons and not much else.