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Non-Conference Opponents’ Update: March 1

Purdue has the look of a 4 seed, but could go higher.

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

With a Big Ten championship in our back pocket it is time to turn towards March. Right now Bracket Matrix has Purdue as the last 4 seed, just ahead of Virginia, Notre Dame, and Cincinnati. It also has Minnesota shooting up into protected seed territory. Barring a Big Ten Tournament title it seems like the ship for a 3 seed has sailed, but we can still secure a solid 4 seed. Another factor that has hurt Purdue is Butler’s win at Villanova. That gave the Bulldogs two wins over the consensus No. 1 overall seed, and pushed them into 3 seed territory.

Any chance of playing in Indianapolis as a protected seed is probably gone, but playing in nearby Milwaukee is a strong possibility. In reality, most of Purdue’s profile is complete. It can still get another top 50 road win Sunday at Northwestern. The Big Ten Tournament is a chance for 1-2 more solid wins. If Purdue gets the double and gets some help maybe it slides into a three spot, but who knows.

Purdue Boilermakers Profile:

Record: 24-6, 13-4 Big Ten (Regular Season Champion)

RPI: 20 (16 last week)

KenPom: 12 (11 last week)

Top 50 RPI wins: 33 Wisconsin, at 27 Maryland, 22 Notre Dame (Neutral Floor), 50 Northwestern, at 41 Michigan State, 41 Michigan State

Keep an eye on: Illinois, who is now at 56 in the RPI and could make a late season push for the top 50.

Top 50 KenPom wins: 21 Wisconsin, 25 Notre Dame (Neutral Floor), 37 Northwestern, at 38 Maryland, at 49 Indiana, 49 Indiana, at 50 Michigan State, 50 Michigan State

Bad Losses (sub-100 RPI OR KenPom): None

McNeese State (7-20, 4-12 Southland) – RPI: 311, KenPom: 317 – McNeese added two more losses this week, 81-79 to Houston Baptist and 81-70 at Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

Villanova (27-3, 14-3 Big East) – RPI: 1, KenPom: 2 – As long as they are not playing Butler this team is fine. The Bulldogs got a second win over Villanova 74-66 last Wednesday, but the Wildcats followed it with a Big East clinching 79-63 win over Creighton on Saturday. They close the regular season this Saturday at Georgetown.

Georgia State (18-11, 11-6 Sun Belt) – RPI: 121, KenPom: 120 – It is a small measure, but Georgia State won 71-54 at Little Rock on Saturday. They followed that up with a 78-67 Monday loss at Arkansas State. That has them as the 3 seed in the Sun Belt Tournament with a game left.

Utah State (14-15, 7-10 Mountain West) – RPI: 179, KenPom: 137 – The Aggies got a pair of wins this past week. They won at San Jose State 81-75 before coming home to beat Air Force 89-58. They close the regular season tonight at UNLV.

Auburn (17-12, 6-10 SEC) – RPI: 85, KenPom: 82 – Saturday’s 79-68 loss at home to Arkansas ended any realistic NCAA hopes for Auburn. They are an NIT team for sure, but they have too many SEC losses for the NCAAs.

NJIT (11-20, 2-12 Atlantic Sun) – RPI: 284, KenPom: 278 – At one point earlier this year NJIT had Minnesota on the ropes in Minneapolis before losing 74-68. Now they didn’t even officially make it to March. After beating South Carolina Upstate 88-87 last week they lost in the opening round of the Atlantic Sun tournament 97-66 to Lipscomb. SEASON COMPLETE

Louisville (23-6, 10-5 ACC) – RPI: 3, KenPom: 5 – The Cardinals won’t win the ACC after losing at North Carolina last week 74-63, but their 88-68 win over Syracuse on Sunday has them a a solid No. 2 seed. If they finish by beating Wake Forest and Notre dame it could even be a 1 seed.

Morehead State (14-15, 10-6 OVC) – RPI: 192, KenPom: 200 – Morehead State beat Tennessee Tech 73-68 but lost to Jacksonville State 70-61 to finish 10-6 in conference play. That gives them a 3 seed in the OVC tournament, where tomorrow they will play Tennessee Tech or Murray State at 8:30pm.

Arizona State (14-16, 7-10 Pac-12) – RPI: 132, KenPom: 129 – The Sun Devils had a surprisingly good week in hosting the highly touted LA area schools. They lost to UCLA 87-75 but recovered to beat USC 83-82 with a late comeback and earn their first top 50 win in nine tries. They close the year by hosting Arizona Saturday.

Cleveland State (9-21, 5-13 Horizon League) – RPI: 245, KenPom: 228 – Cleveland State will be one of the lowest seeds in the Horizon League tournament after a 69-55 win over Youngstown State Saturday. They start that tournament Friday with a rematch against Youngstown in Detroit.

Notre Dame (22-7, 11-5 ACC) – RPI: 22, KenPom: 25 – Notre Dame is on a five game winning streak and continues to be Purdue’s best non-conference win by far. They beat Georgia Tech 64-60 on Sunday and should be set for a big ACC Tournament run.

Western Illinois (8-19, 5-11 Summit League) – RPI: 324, KenPom 296 – The Leathernecks finished 8th in the 9 team Summit League after losses to South Dakota (92-81) and IPFW (96-92).

Norfolk State (14-15, 10-4 MEAC) – RPI: 255, KenPom: 294 – Norfolk beat Howard 73-65, but closed the regular season Monday with a 63-59 loss to Hampton. They will be the No. 2 seed in the MEAC Tournament and could very well steal the autobid.