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Non-Conference Opponents’ Update January 3

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Purdue has possibly the best NCAA profile in the country.

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

As we step back into conference play tonight Purdue’s profile really could not look better. It took a minor ding last night with Tennessee losing at home to Auburn, but right now the Boilers have one of the best NCAA profiles in the country. For a brief time yesterday Lipscomb had bumped up to 30 in the RPI, giving Purdue five Tier 1 victories. They dropped back down to 33, but Purdue is still 4-1 in tier 1 games. For comparison, here is how the 12 teams ahead of us in the AP Poll have done in tier 1 games:

1. Michigan State (1-1)

2. Duke (1-1)

3. Villanova (2-1)

4. Arizona State (3-1)

5. Xavier (2-1)

6. West Virginia (2-1)

7. Oklahoma (3-1)

8. Virginia (1-1)

9. Wichita State (0-1)

10. Kansas (3-2)

11. Texas A&M (2-2)

12. North Carolina (3-1)

So if Lipscomb had stayed in tier 1 for the RPI, Purdue would have had at least 2 more tier 1 wins than every team ahead of it. Texas A&M and Kansas both lost big last night, while Wichita State is still riding the “We almost beat Kentucky again” momentum from last year’s NCAA Tournament. Virginia still has to play North Carolina this week too, meaning Purdue is very likely in the top 10 of next week’s poll unless Nebraska or Rutgers pulls off a huge surprise in Mackey.

Purdue Boilermakers Profile

Record: 13-2, 2-0 Big Ten

RPI: 14 (Down from 12)

KenPom: 3 (Up from 5 last week)

Tier 1 Wins (KenPom) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 14 Arizona (neutral), 32 Maryland (away), 37 Butler (neutral), 52 Marquette (away)

Tier 2: Home 31-75 (KenPom) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 39 Louisville (home), 64 Northwestern (home)

Tier 1 Wins (RPI) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 19 Arizona (neutral), 53 Maryland (away), 13 Butler (neutral), 65 Marquette (away)

Tier 2: Home 31-75 (RPI) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 36 Louisville (home), 33 Lipscomb (home)

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

SIU-Edwardsville Cougars (4-9, 0-2 Ohio Valley) RPI: 223, KenPom: 323 – The Cougars have started conference play and they are already 0-2 in the Ohio Valley. They lost at Austin Pway 78-58 and at Murray State 87-63. I wouldn’t expect much from them.

Chicago State Cougars (2-15, 0-0 WAC) RPI: 311, KenPom: 344 – CSU has actually moved up two spots on KenPom! Sure, it is because they played Wisconsin to a 12 point game in a 92-71 loss in Madison last Wednesday. They also lost 92-71 at Western Michigan. They are entering conference play without a win over a Division I team.

Marquette Golden Eagles (10-4, 1-1 Big East) RPI: 63, KenPom: 52 – Since this was a true road game it falls into a tier 1 win under the new criteria. It can look even better if they can take some Big East games. Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, and Butler are all in the top 13 of the RPI, so they have a wealth of opportunities for good wins. They started Big East play with a 91-87 home loss to Xavier, but beat Georgetown 74-65.

Fairfield Stags (6-7, 1-1 MAAC) RPI: 205, KenPom: 195 – Fairfield earned a split to start MAAC play. They beat St. Peter’s 70-61, but lost on the road at Manhattan 61-58. Among Purdue’s low-rated wins Fairfield has a chance to climb into tier 3 from tier 4, but they need to do very well in MAAC play.

Tennessee Volunteers (9-4, 0-2 SEC) RPI: 23, KenPom: 27 – The Volunteers have cooled, but they are still an NCAA team. Much of that is based on their win over Purdue. They started SEC play with two straight losses though. They lost at Arkansas 95-93 and fell at home last night to Auburn 94-84.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (10-5, 0-0 Conference USA) RPI: 68, KenPom: 80 – Western Kentucky got a nice boost this week by starting Conference USA play with two wins. They beat Louisiana Tech 69-68 and Southern Miss 82-66 at home. The win over Purdue will give them an at large shot all season, but the win they had stolen from them at Wisconsin will sting.

Arizona Wildcats (11-3, 1-0 Pac-12) RPI: 19, KenPom: 14 – Arizona took down Arizona State at home 84-78 on Saturday for a huge win to start Pac-12 play. They are one of the hottest teams in America with very good wins over Alabama, Arizona State, and Texas A&M in their 8-game win streak since losing to Purdue. This will be Purdue’s best win all season unless we win in East Lansing.

Louisville Cardinals (11-3, 1-0 ACC) RPI: 36, KenPom: 39 – Louisville needs to do better in ACC play to get into tier 1 (the top 30). They got blown out at Kentucky 90-61, but beat Pittsburgh 77-51 last night to open ACC play. They have a great chance for a resume boost at Clemson this weekend. Clemson is 12-1, just entered the top 25, and is 11th in the RPI. Louisville’s biggest problem is that they are 0-3 against tier 1 teams (Purdue, Seton Hall, and Kentucky), so they really haven’t beaten anyone. They haven’t even played a tier 2 team.

Valparaiso Crusaders (9-6, 0-2 MVC) RPI: 176, KenPom: 157 – Since coming to Purdue with an 8-0 record and a strong RPI Valparaiso has fallen off a cliff. This week they started Missouri Valley play with a 73-64 loss at Indiana State and a 67-50 home loss to Missouri State. It was hoped this could be a tier 2 win in the end, but now they will be lucky to climb out of tier 4.

IUPUI Jaguars (4-10, 1-2 Horizon League) RPI: 267, KenPom: 269 – The Jaguars played 3 times since last week, all in Horizon League play. They started with a 77-59 loss at Northern Kentucky and a 60-52 loss at Wright State, but beat Linc Darner and Green Bay 67-63 last night.

Butler Bulldogs (12-4, 2-1 Big East) RPI: 13, KenPom: 37 – The Bulldogs made a HUGE RPI jump by beating No. 1 Villanova 101-93 on Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse. This came after an overtime 91-89 win at Georgetown. Last night they could not sustain the momentum, falling 86-79 at Xavier, but the Villanova was huge. This weekend they host Seton Hall, and that is another chance at a top 10 RPI win.

Tennessee St. Tigers (5-8, 0-2 Ohio Valley) RPI: 241, KenPom: 226 – Like SIU-Edwardsville, Tennessee State did not have a great start in Ohio Valley play. They lost 63-60 at Tennessee-Martin and 77-65 at Southeast Missouri State.

Lipscomb Bisons (9-5, 0-0 Atlantic Sun) RPI: 33, KenPom: 128 – Lipscomb has a non-D1 game tonight, but starts Atlantic Sun play this weekend. Their first three games are on the road, but against teams with a combined 7 D1 wins. They are also the only team in their conference with a winning record. I don’t expect their RPI to stay in the top 50 unless they went undefeated in league play, but they have the best chance to win their conference and get an automatic bid of all our non-conference opponents.