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Non-Conference Opponents’ Update: February 15

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Dammit Auburn!

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

Ronnie Johnson continues to ruin Purdue basketball. Well, it may not be ruining per se, but his Auburn Tigers refuse to cooperate and be a good win for Purdue out of conference. There was promise there early. They started out 6-1 with the only loss coming against Purdue. Sure, they lost to Boston College by a point, but then they beat Oklahoma (a Final Four team last year) on a neutral floor and won at Connecticut, who was a preseason top 25 team. They entered the SEC at 11-2 with three wins over power conference teams when you add in Texas Tech.

As it turns out, Oklahoma had a major dropoff after losing the National Player of the Year (they are 9-16) and Connecticut really sucks (they are 11-12 with losses to Wagner, Northeastern, and Tulsa). Auburn keeps teasing us to become a top 50 win, but in the SEC they are now 5-8 after an extremely frustrating week, as you’ll see.

Purdue Boilermakers Profile:

Record: 21-5, 10-3 Big Ten

RPI: 19 (20 last week)

KenPom: 11 (12 last week)

Top 50 RPI wins: 24 Wisconsin, at 22 Maryland, 25 Notre Dame (Neutral Floor), 35 Northwestern, at 40 Michigan State

Top 50 KenPom wins: 15 Wisconsin, 24 Notre Dame (Neutral Floor), 31 Northwestern, at 38 Maryland, at 49 Indiana

Note: Keep an eye on Michigan State (54) and Ohio State (62) here to move into the top 50.

Bad Losses (sub-100 RPI OR KenPom): at Iowa (RPI: 106, KenPom 72)

McNeese State (7-17, 4-9 Southland) – RPI: 288, KenPom: 316 – I am running out of ways to say that McNeese State really sucks at basketball. They lost to New Orleans (69-63) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (73-66) at home this week and have dropped 9 of their last 11.

Villanova (25-2, 12-2 Big East) – RPI: 2, KenPom: 3 – On Saturday Villanova was the preliminary No. 1 overall seed in the early bracket reveal and with good reason. They are 8-1 against the top 50 of the RPI and their win at Purdue is looking like one of the best non-conference true road wins in the country. They added another true road win over a top 20 team by winning at Xavier 73-57 before winning at DePaul 75-62.

Georgia State (16-9, 9-4 Sun Belt) – RPI: 127, KenPom: 133 – Just as I was praising Georgia State for leading their conference and edging close to the top 100 they go and have their eight game winning streak snapped by losing at Appalachian State (77-72) and Coastal Carolina (65-64). The two teams they were tied with atop the Sun Belt also lost twice, moving Texas-Arlington into first place. Texas-Arlington, with an RPI of 41 and wins at St. Mary’s and Texas, might be an at large team, but they go to Georgia State on Saturday.

Utah State (12-13, 5-8 Mountain West) – RPI: 186, KenPom: 160 – Only one game in the past week for Utah State, but they did beat Wyoming 81-74 at home.

Auburn (16-10, 5-8 SEC) – RPI: 71, KenPom: 81 –This was the make or break week for Auburn to get into the NCAA discussion and they broke. On Saturday they led at Mississippi by 20 at halftime before losing 90-84 following a spectacular collapse. Last night they were tied with Florida 50-50 at halftime but lost 114-95 by completely refusing to play defense in the second half. Do you know how hard it is to give up 64 points in a half in Division I basketball? IT IS VERY HARD!

NJIT (9-18, 1-10 Atlantic Sun) – RPI: 298, KenPom: 272 – NJIT has now lost eight in a row and 10 of 11 after dropping road games at North Florida (91-69) and Jacksonville (76-73)

Louisville (21-5, 9-4 ACC) – RPI: 4, KenPom: 5 – Louisville is a half game out of first place in the ACC after a pair of narrow wins this week. They beat Miami on Saturday at home 71-66 before winning in overtime at Syracuse 76-72 on Monday. They are playing for a possible No. 1 seed as well, meaning Purdue played two of the top 5 teams in the country.

Morehead State (13-12, 9-3 OVC) – RPI: 182, KenPom: 179 – Morehead State moved to the right side of .500 overall and continues to play some solid basketball in the Ohio Valley Conference. They beat Murray State 101-100 last Wednesday and Eastern Kentucky 67-62 on Saturday. They have the second best record in their league at 9-3 behind 12-1 Belmont.

Arizona State (12-14, 5-8 Pac-12) – RPI: 132, KenPom: 127 – The Sun Devils hosted the Bay Area schools and earned a split over the weekend. They lost at home to Cal 68-43 but beat Stanford 75-69, giving them a season sweep of the Cardinal. This week they go to the Washington schools.

Cleveland State (8-18, 4-10 Horizon League) – RPI: 234, KenPom: 223– As expected, Cleveland State lost to league leader Valparaiso 78-57 last Thursday. They did get a win at Illinois-Chicago 66-63 on Saturday, however.

Notre Dame (20-7, 9-5 ACC) – RPI: 25, KenPom: 24 – Notre Dame had a really good week to help us. They knocked off Florida State 84-72 for a really, really good win on their own resume. Last night they trailed Boston College at halftime, but recovered for an 84-76 win. Their remaining ACC schedule is favorable until a season-ending trip to Louisville.

Western Illinois (8-16, 5-8 Summit League) – RPI: 322, KenPom 302 – The Leathernecks earned a split this week with a 63-60 win at Oral Roberts, but a 78-72 home loss to Denver. North Dakota State is the only team in their conference in the top 100.

Norfolk State (12-13, 9-2 MEAC) – RPI: 252, KenPom: 296 – Norfolk is closing in on an overall winning record with a 75-69 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore. They have now won eight in a row and are a game behind North Carolina Central for their conference title. NC Central is 195 in the RPI and the only team in that conference in the top 200. They also already have a 72-57 win over Norfolk and there is no rematch until the conference tournament.