I am getting to the Non-Conference Opponents Update a little early this week because tomorrow is our first ever early signing day for football. We will have a series of articles coming on that as our guys officially sign, so I didn’t want it to get lost on the shuffle.
As far as our NCAA profile, it really couldn’t be better. Virtually every measurement has Purdue as a top 10 team right now. We’re at No. 5 in the KenPom, No. 3 in ESPN’s BPI, and we have six wins over top 100 KenPom teams when no one else has more than four (and all 6 are really in the top 60). We’re in great shape for a top 3 seed and one of our two losses is far from a bad one.
Purdue Boilermakers Profile
Record: 11-2, 2-0 Big Ten
RPI: 17 (Up from 21)
KenPom: 5 (Up from 8)
Quadrant 1 Wins (KenPom) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 14 Arizona (neutral), 27 Louisville (home), 36 Maryland (away), 56 Marquette (away)
Quadrant 2: Home 31-75 (KenPom) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 46 Northwestern (home), 53 Butler (neutral),
Quadrant 1 Wins (RPI) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 30 Arizona (neutral), 81 Maryland (away), 38 Butler (neutral)
Quadrant 2: Home 31-75 (RPI) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 85 Marquette (away), 73 Louisville (home)
Bad Losses (sub-100 RPI OR KenPom): None
SIU-Edwardsville Cougars (4-6, 0-0 Ohio Valley) RPI: 184, KenPom: 314 – Tonight was the Cougars’ first game since last week’s update and they beat Chicago State of all teams 88-76.
Chicago State Cougars (2-13, 0-0 WAC) RPI: 301, KenPom: 346 – Chicago State is only five spots above rock bottom on the KenPom ratings. They actually had a home game on Saturday, but lost 84-58 to Bradley. They have not beaten a Division I team yet this season.
Marquette Golden Eagles (8-3, 0-0 Big East) RPI: 89, KenPom: 56 – The bulk of what Purdue gets out of this win will come from how well Marquette does in Big East play. It helps a ton that it is a road win, but the RPI and KenPom numbers will soar once Big East play starts next Wednesday against Xavier. This week they beat Northern Illinois 79-70 Monday night.
Fairfield Stags (4-6, 0-0 MAAC) RPI: 217, KenPom: 210 – Fairfield hosted Old Dominion, a team close to the 50 line in the RPI, on Sunday, but lost 82-77. They still rate as one of the better teams in the MAAC and could be a player in that race. There is no team in that conference in the top 100.
Tennessee Volunteers (7-2, 0-0 SEC) RPI: 14, KenPom: 24 – Tennesee has gone from potential “bad loss” to missed opportunity. A win over them and over Villanova the next day would look great right now. This week they took North Carolina to the brink in Knoxville before falling 78-73. As long as they don’t fall off a cliff this loss won’t hurt much at all
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (7-5, 0-0 Conference USA) RPI: 67, KenPom: 98 – Western Kentucky got absolutely robbed at Wisconsin last week in their 81-80 loss. That could cost them on Selection Sunday. They did beat Indiana State 81-65 on the weekend, and both games pulled them into the top 100 of KenPom. It may be short lived, however. They lost tonight to Belmont. While Belmont is a top 100 RPI team, it was a home loss for WKU 75-72.
Arizona Wildcats (9-3, 0-0 Pac-12) RPI: 30, KenPom: 14 – The Wildcats have not lost since the Bahamas. That included an 83-53 win over perennial NCAA qualifier North Dakota State last night. They also won 89-73 at New Mexico on Saturday. Thursday night they host Connecticut before opening conference play in a suddenly huge game against Arizona State on December 30.
Louisville Cardinals (8-2, 0-0 ACC) RPI: 73, KenPom: 27 – On Saturday Louisville played in the Gotham Classic in New York and beat Memphis 81-72. Normally that is a good win. But this year’s Memphis is not as strong as the Memphis of years past.
Valparaiso Crusaders (9-3, 0-0 MVC) RPI: 112, KenPom: 104 – Given a shot at playing another Big Ten team Valparaiso was blown out by Northwestern 84-50 last Thursday. They recovered to win at Santa Clara 76-68 last night. Tomorrow night they are at UC-Riverside. They have not done well in their real tests, but they will open MVC play at Indiana State on December 28th.
IUPUI Jaguars (2-8, 0-0 Horizon League) RPI: 285, KenPom: 273 – The Jaguars went on a two-game road trip to Eastern Washington where they lost to Washington State 72-59 and at Gonzaga 101-71. They’ll get back home this Friday to host Indiana-Kokomo in a non-D1 game.
Butler Bulldogs (8-3, 0-0 Big East) RPI: 38, KenPom: 53 – Purdue got that elusive win over Butler, and now, like Marquette, the value of said win will come from how Butler does in Big East play. They have a couple of nice wins over Utah and Ohio State, but they have an excellent chance to get a good win when they host Villanova on December 30th.
Tennessee St. Tigers (5-5, 0-0 Ohio Valley) RPI: 207, KenPom: 202 – Tennessee State lost to North Carolina A&T 64-54, but nearly pulled off a stunning upset last night at Texas. They led the Longhorns for a good portion of the game before losing 47-46 on a shot by Matt Coleman with 9 seconds left. Delano Spencer then turned the ball over on their final possession.
Lipscomb Bisons (8-4, 0-0 Atlantic Sun) RPI: 31, KenPom: 131 – Lipscomb has some very strong computer numbers and could be an NCAA team out of the Atlantic Sun Conference. They beat non-D1 Florida College 100-68 and Abilene Christian 67-65 to move to 8-4 on the season. They have two non-D1 wins, but they have been competitive with Alabama and Tennessee, so we should be wary of our final non-conference opponent. It could be a surprise top 100 win for us by the end of the year.