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Non-Conference Opponents’ Update: December 6

Arizona is starting to look like a very, very good win.

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

We owe a big thank you to Arizona for last night! The Wildcats came up with their biggest win of the season over Texas A&M. this cements them as a top 25 team and adds some heft to our victory over them in the Bahamas. On Saturday they get another chance at a good win when they host Alabama. A second win over a ranked team would almost certainly get them back into the top 25, and they have a few other good non-conference home games coming up against North Dakota State and Connecticut.

The Arizona win, plus the Marquette, Maryland, Northwestern, and Louisville wins, have us off to a very good start for NCAA seeding:

Purdue Boilermakers Profile

Record: 8-2, 2-0 Big Ten

RPI: 29 (Up from 57)

KenPom: 9 (Up from 12)

Top 50 RPI wins: None (Tennessee and Western Kentucky are both in the top 50 right now)

Top 50 KenPom Wins: 16 Arizona (neutral), 26 Louisville, at 40 Maryland

Bad Losses (sub-100 RPI OR KenPom): KenPom 115 Western Kentucky

SIU-Edwardsville Cougars (1-6, 0-0 Ohio Valley) RPI: 193, KenPom: 319 – Edwardsville continued its road heavy schedule with an 86-59 loss at its parent school, Southern Illinois. Bryson Scott and IPFW then hosted them on Sunday and the Mastodons won 86-71.SIU-Edwardsville continues its state of Indiana tour tonight at IUPUI.

Chicago State Cougars (2-9, 0-0 WAC) RPI: 319, KenPom: 344 – Chicago State is on a march to the bottom of KenPom after two more losses. They hung with Marquette for a half before losing 95-69. They then had their first home game against a Division I opponent in a 95-77 loss to Northern Illinois. Monday night they are at Northwestern for their third game against a team on our schedule.

Marquette Golden Eagles (6-3, 0-0 Big East) RPI: 106, KenPom: 63 – As mentioned, Marquette beat Chicago State last week, but suffered a home 73-66 loss to a pretty mediocre Georgia team. They were able to beat Vermont, a likely NCAA team again, last night 91-81. That is the same Vermont that pushed Kentucky in the opener before falling 73-69.

Fairfield Stags (3-4, 0-0 MAAC) RPI: 259, KenPom: 211 – Fairfield played just one game in the past week, a 78-76 loss at Wagner on Staten Island.

Tennessee Volunteers (6-1, 0-0 SEC) RPI: 10, KenPom: 22 – Instead of being a bad loss this now looks like a missed opportunity. Much of their profile is built on beating Purdue (our numbers are great) and playing Villanova (the No. 1 KenPom team) close. The Volunteers are now a top 25 team in their own right after beating Mercer 84-60 and Georgia Tech 77-70.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (6-2, 0-0 Conference USA) RPI: 39, KenPom: 115 – So far, the Hilltoppers are doing their job and their KenPom number is rising. They beat Eastern Kentucky 83-51 and Wright State 78-60 to stay undefeated since losing to Villanova. A game to watch for them is next Wednesday night at Wisconsin, who is reeling a bit but recovered to beat Penn State.

Arizona Wildcats (6-3, 0-0 Pac-12) RPI: 54, KenPom: 16 – Arizona’s RPI went from 187 to 54 and their KenPom remains strong after three wins since we played them. They thrashed Long Beach State 91-56 before getting a road win at UNLV 91-88. Last night’s 67-64 win over Texas A&M was huge though. It finally gives them a good out of conference win, and a win over Alabama on Saturday would be a second one. They should be fine in the long run.

Louisville Cardinals (4-2, 0-0 ACC) RPI: 105, KenPom: 26 – Louisville did not respond to their first loss well. They lost to Seton Hall at home on Sunday 79-77 to fall out of the top 25. They have plenty of chances coming up to get good non-conference wins with Indiana, Memphis, and Kentucky. Tonight they host Siena with a chance to get back on track.

Valparaiso Crusaders (8-0, 0-0 MVC) RPI: 57, KenPom: 83 – Valparaiso actually has not played since last Tuesday, so they have nine days off to prepare for tomorrow night. I cannot stress this enough, especially after Ball State beat Notre Dame last night; THIS IS A TRAP GAME. The undefeated Crusaders have Purdue, Ball State, and Northwestern all on the road and if they take 2 of 3 they have some legitimate at large resume material.

IUPUI Jaguars (2-4, 0-0 Horizon League) RPI: 338, KenPom: 249 – IUPUI played at Ball State over the weekend and lost 83-64, but they host SIU-Edwardsville tonight. This game should be Purdue’s first true break after a rough stretch.

Butler Bulldogs (7-2, 0-0 Big East) RPI: 32, KenPom: 50 – Butler is doing exactly what we want them to do as they round into a top 50 team. They thrashed St. Louis over the weekend 75-45 and last night beat Utah at home 81-69. Their two losses to Maryland and Texas are far from bad, and they only have a very easy game Saturday against Youngstown State before playing Purdue.

Tennessee St. Tigers (4-3, 0-0 Ohio Valley) RPI: 136, KenPom: 226 – If you want an idea of how Purdue’s last two non-conference games might go look to last Saturday. Lipscomb beat Tennessee State 95-86 and actually moved into the top 50 of the RPI.

Lipscomb Bisons (6-3, 0-0 Atlantic Sun) RPI: 44, KenPom: 124 – Lipscomb has played three times in the past week. It lost to Tennessee Tech 86-80, but beat Tennessee State and completed a season sweep of bitter rival Belmont with a 69-54 win on Monday. That made them, however briefly, a top 50 RPI team. If they win at Tennessee on Saturday they’ll stay there a while. There is some unexpected strength here.