Last week was a great week for Purdue. It notched another top 50 win and planted a seed for a third one if Ohio State can get it together and start winning. That is the best way to look at the Ohio State game. The same is true for Auburn and Arizona State. They are seeds that can grow into something very beneficial down the road. Ohio State is especially good because top 50 true road wins are gold in the eyes of the committee.
Overall Purdue’s profile is one of a locked NCAA team. With three losses none of them are bad. In fact, all three teams are currently in the top 25 of both polls. the downside is all three games feel like a missed opportunity, especially when two of them were at home. If Purdue can go on to win the Big Ten I think it gets a top 3 seed in a region. The goal is to get placement in Indianapolis at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse for the first two games. That could be tricky, however, as the Horizon League and IUPUI are the official hosts. That only means the Horizon League champ (likely Valparaiso) and IUPUI cannot be placed there. Butler can. The Fieldhouse will have two “preferred” seeds, and as of right now it looks like Butler, Louisville, and Purdue are in the running for those spots.
Milwaukee might also be a destination for Purdue. Wisconsin, if it is a top 4 seed, would be a shoe-in here. A second open spot could go to almost anyone, however. Here are the eight first round hosts and who is most likely to go there )if there is an obvious choice):
Orlando: Florida State
Salt Lake City: Gonzaga
Greenville, SC: Duke, North Carolina
Indianapolis: Butler, Louisville
Tulsa: Kansas, Creighton
If Purdue is going to get to Indianapolis it will have to keep winning and hope it can push Louisville out of that spot. Right now, Butler is likely a lock there if they are a top 3 seed. Notre Dame is also a possibility if they continue to play well in the ACC.
Purdue Boilermakers Profile:
Record: 14-3, 3-1 Big Ten
RPI: 31 (51 last week)
KenPom: 13 (14 last week)
Top 50 RPI wins: 24 Notre Dame (Neutral Floor), 50 Wisconsin
Top 50 KenPom wins: 11 Wisconsin, 25 Notre Dame (Neutral Floor), at 48 Ohio State
Bad Losses: None
McNeese State (5-10, 2-2 Southland) – RPI: 236, KenPom: 309 – That very early lead in the Southland conference is gone after McNeese State dropped two games this past week. They fell at home to Sam Houston State 74-67 on Thursday before going on the road and losing at Houston Baptist 60-49. Sam Houston State is the only team in this conference right now with a winning overall record.
Villanova (16-1, 4-1 Big East) – RPI: 1, KenPom: 3 – The Champs stumbled for the first time as Butler knocked them off in Hinkle Fieldhouse last Wednesday night. It was a minor stumble overall, as Butler happens to be really, really good. Villanova recovered with home wins over Marquette (93-81) and Xavier (79-54), the second being yet another top 25 win. At this point Villanova is a lock for a No. 1 seed inMmarch.
Georgia State (8-7, 1-2 Sun Belt) – RPI: 137, KenPom: 178 – The Panthers got a 78-77 home win over South Alabama to get their first conference victory, but could not sustain their momentum. They lost 80-77 at home to Troy to fall to 1-2 in their league. Remember: this is the game Purdue trailed by 8 late before closing on a 20-0 run that basically saved the season from going sideways early.
Utah State (9-7, 2-2 Mountain West) – RPI: 182, KenPom: 149 – The Aggies had a pair of home games since the last update and won them both. They beat New Mexico 79-75, starting a very, very bad week for the Lobos. They then knocked off UNLV 79-63. Tonight they are at Wyoming before going to San Diego State.
Auburn (11-5, 1-3 SEC) – RPI: 89, KenPom: 103 – Auburn is going to hover in the 80s and 90s for most of the season, but it blew a chance to get into the top 50 with an 0-3 conference start. They lost at Vanderbilt 80-61 before they lost at home to Mississippi 88-85, but recovered to beat a deplorable Missouri team on the road 77-72. Their next game would really, really help us if they won it: Saturday at Kentucky.
NJIT (8-9, 0-1 Atlantic Sun) – RPI: 202, KenPom: 223 – NJIT finally started conference play, but it was with a 75-65 loss at South Carolina-Upstate. They preceded that with a 75-73 win at home over Brown. This week they get Jacksonville and North Florida at home on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.
Louisville (13-3, 1-2 ACC) – RPI: 10, KenPom: 8 – In a bit of an odd game we were both helped and hurt at the same time. Notre Dame improved its profile with a 77-70 home win over Louisville, showing that Purdue could definitely beat the Cards if given a second chance. Louisville then went to Georgia Tech and won 65-50. Since this was a true road game it is not going to hurt Purdue too badly if they slip down into the 20s or 30s, but stay as a solid NCAA team. It would be nice if they slipped out of heading to Indy for sure, but stayed as an NCAA team.
Morehead State (6-10, 2-1 OVC) – RPI: 249, KenPom: 212 – It is not much, but Morehead State provided a small boost with a pair of wins since the last update. They beat Eastern Illinois 85-75 at home before beating SIU-Edwardsville 73-65. Their next two games are at home this weekend against Belmont and Tennessee State.
Arizona State (9-8, 2-2 Pac-12) – RPI: 118, KenPom: 121 – The Sun Devils earned another split of their Pac-12 games this week. They got a nice 78-77 win over Colorado in the closing seconds at home, but could not keep it going with an 88-82 home loss to Utah. Tomorrow night they play at rival Arizona, where an upset would pay a nice dividend for us by pulling them into the top 100.
Cleveland State (5-11, 1-3 Horizon League) – RPI: 239, KenPom: 239– A two-game road trip in the Horizon League led to a pair of losses. They lost at Wright State 55-51 and Northern Kentucky 83-75. They are not a threat to win this league.
Notre Dame (14-2, 3-0 ACC) – RPI: 24, KenPom: 25 – Only two teams are left undefeated in ACC play at this point: Florida State and Notre Dame. The longer that stays true for the Irish, the better Purdue looks. This week they beat Louisville at home (as mentioned above) and Clemson at home 75-70. They have a tough three-game road trip starting tomorrow at Miami before going to Virginia Tech on Saturday and Florida State next Wednesday. If they come out of that 3-0 it will be a huge boost for us.
Western Illinois (6-9, 3-1 Summit League) – RPI: 312, KenPom 264 – The Leathernecks are the surprise team in the Summit League so far. After beating South Dakota State 82-74 and Oral Roberts 86-71 they are tied with South Dakota and Fort Wayne in second place behind North Dakota State. Fort Wayne and NDSU are still the favorites here, and Western puts their record on the line tonight at Denver.
Norfolk State (3-12, 0-1 MEAC) – RPI: 317, KenPom: 313 – MEAC play started for Norfolk with a 58-56 loss to Morgan State, then they had two games postponed Saturday and Monday due to the east coast snowstorm.