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Non-Conference Opponents’ Update: December 13

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Purdue’s NCAA profile continues to be strong.

NCAA Basketball: Indiana - Purdue at Purdue Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

With finals going on for several teams across the country it has been a slow week for college basketball. One of the larger things to happen to Purdue’s profile this week occurred Monday night when Minnesota held on to beat Drake by a point. Since Purdue plays the Gophers twice this year a loss to Drake would have been disastrous.

Minnesota looks like one of the few actual good Big Ten teams right now. To most observers it is a two-team race between Purdue and Michigan State with Minnesota and Michigan as potential spoilers. The conference only has 6 wins against the current top 50 of the RPI. Wisconsin, normally one of the league’s strongest teams, looks horrible. It hasn’t been a good non-conference season.

Purdue continues to look strong though. Our 13 non-conference opponents give us the 52nd best non-conference schedule according to the RPI. There is plenty of heft there, with the chance to add another good win on Saturday against Butler.

Purdue Boilermakers Profile

Record: 10-2, 2-0 Big Ten

RPI: 21 (Up from 29)

KenPom: 8 (Up from 9)

Quadrant 1 wins: Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75 (per KenPom): 19 Arizona, at 53 Marquette, at 38 Maryland, 26 Louisville

Quadrant 1 wins: Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75 (per RPI): 28 Arizona, at 71 Maryland

Top 50 RPI wins: 28 Arizona

Top 50 KenPom Wins: 19 Arizona (neutral), 26 Louisville, at 38 Maryland

Bad Losses (sub-100 RPI OR KenPom): KenPom 117 Western Kentucky (A Quadrant 3 loss per the new criteria)

SIU-Edwardsville Cougars (3-6, 0-0 Ohio Valley) RPI: 198, KenPom: 316 – The Cougars had their best week of the season to date. They pulled off a pair of one-point wins at IUPUI (82-81) and at home against South Alabama (76-75). They have the week off until next Tuesday when they host Chicago State.

Chicago State Cougars (2-11, 0-0 WAC) RPI: 313, KenPom: 346 – These Cougars still do not have a Division I win and they might be the worst team in America. They lost at Oakland 82-50 and got absolutely annihilated by Northwestern 96-31. At halftime against Northwestern they trailed 55-8, so the Wildcats pretty much sleepwalked through the second half and still won by 65. There is really no reason this should be a Division I team. It’s just sad.

Marquette Golden Eagles (7-3, 0-0 Big East) RPI: 82, KenPom: 53 – Marquette had just one game since last week’s update, but it was a big 82-63 win at rival Wisconsin. That has pushed the Golden Eagles close to that magical 50 line on KenPom, but under the new criteria we’ll get a bigger boost with this being a true road game.

Fairfield Stags (4-5, 0-0 MAAC) RPI: 191, KenPom: 212 – Kelvin Sampson used his unlimited minutes to reach out and set up this week’s 88-66 win for Houston over Fairfield. The Stags did return home to beat Long Island 76-72. This Sunday they host Old Dominion, a top 100 team that could give them a little boost.

Tennessee Volunteers (7-1, 0-0 SEC) RPI: 8, KenPom: 22 – For everyone that bemoaned Tennessee being a bad loss it looks more like a miss opportunity. Their computer numbers at the moment are better than Louisville and on par with Arizona. It also cost Purdue a shot at the current No. 1 team in the polls and KenPom in Villanova. I am not saying we would have beaten Villanova, but we would have at least had a chance. This past Saturday Tennessee beat Lipscomb 81-71 and this Sunday they have a huge home game against North Carolina.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (6-3, 0-0 Conference USA) RPI: 51, KenPom: 117 – The Hilltoppers played a road game at Ohio and fell 89-84, breaking their 4-game winning streak. Wins over Purdue and SMU will help them a lot, but tonight they could help us out a lot by winning in Madison against Wisconsin. Yes, we pla7y the Badgers twice, but we want WKU to look as strong as possible.

Arizona Wildcats (7-3, 0-0 Pac-12) RPI: 28, KenPom: 19 – Arizona’s RPI has gone from 187 to 28 in just two weeks since their disastrous Bahamas trip. That’s exactly what we want. After last week’s Texas A&M win they followed it with an 88-82 win over a strong Alabama team. This week they go to New Mexico before hosting North Dakota State and UConn. A December 30th game against in-state rival Arizona State now looks huge. This still has the potential to be a top 10 win before all is said and done.

Louisville Cardinals (7-2, 0-0 ACC) RPI: 122, KenPom: 26 – The Cardinals got in three games since last week’s update. They beat Siena 86-60 and Bryant 102-59, but the bigger win was 71-62 at home over Indiana. They are 0-2 against opponents in the top 150 right now, but for the most part they are getting it done against weaker opponents. We’ll see more heft once they play Kentucky and get into ACC play.

Valparaiso Crusaders (8-2, 0-0 MVC) RPI: 78, KenPom: 86 – It was a rough week for Valpo. They got blown by 30 at Purdue, then Tayler Persons shot them down as Ball State won 71-70 n Muncie on the second straight buzzer-beater for the Cards. They have a golden opportunity waiting tomorrow night in Rosemont as they travel to northwestern in search of a marquee win. They will help Purdue as long as they stay in the top 100.

IUPUI Jaguars (2-6, 0-0 Horizon League) RPI: 264, KenPom: 323 – As mentioned above, IUPUI dropped a home game to SIU-Edwardsville by a point, then lost at Purdue by 25 after holding an early lead. They did at least hang around a little longer than expected with that 19-10 lead.

Butler Bulldogs (8-2, 0-0 Big East) RPI: 32, KenPom: 49 – Butler has now won five in a row after beating Youngstown State 95-67 on Saturday. They, too, have a week off this week. Their best out of conference wins are over Ohio State and Utah. They start Big East play December 27 at Georgetown, who is an embarrassingly soft undefeated.

Tennessee St. Tigers (5-3, 0-0 Ohio Valley) RPI: 200, KenPom: 203 – Tennessee State had a road win at Alabama State 64-45 last night, but it was the first of 6 straight road games. Three days before they come to Purdue they play at Texas.

Lipscomb Bisons (6-4, 0-0 Atlantic Sun) RPI: 37, KenPom: 123 – The Bisons gave Tennessee a bit of a game on Saturday before losing by 10. This is a surprisingly strong RPI team and they should be 9-4 before coming to Purdue in a few weeks. Their RPI is up there because of losses to Texas, Alabama, and Tennessee.