Purdue’s best wins are not doing us any favors right now. Yes, the early seed reveal on Sunday from the Selection Committee was favorable to the Boilers even after two straight losses, but the teams we have beaten are not helping matters at all. Marquette has likely played its way out of the tournament. Butler lost at home to a crappy Georgetown team last night. Louisville had fallen apart before winning two this week. That’s before you get into the Big Ten, where Northwestern and Minnesota, two teams ranked ahead of Purdue in the preseason, have completely fallen apart. Maryland has also struggled.
The good news is that as of right now, the committee views Purdue as a No. 1 seed. If you believe that fatigue has been a factor of late (and it certainly seems possible) then a nice rest after the Big Tournament followed by essentially a tune-up game against a 16 seed is exactly what we could use. I think Purdue should be fine for a No. 1 seed as long as it wins the last four regular season games and reaches at least the Final of the Big Ten Tournament (beating Michigan State or Ohio State in the semifinals). If Ohio State could drop a game this week to Penn State (who has already beaten them) or at Michigan so we can at least get a share of the Big Ten title that would help as well.
The Big Ten is out of our hands, at least until tomorrow night. The No. 1 seed is not, however.
Purdue Boilermakers Profile
Record: 23-4, 12-2 Big Ten
RPI: 12 (Down 3 from last week)
KenPom: 4 (Down 1 from last week)
Tier 1 Wins (KenPom) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 24 Butler (neutral), 22 Arizona (neutral), 27 Michigan (away), 27 Michigan (home), 28 Louisville (home), 39 Maryland (away), 51 Marquette (away), 75 Indiana (away)
Tier 2 Wins (KenPom): Home 31-75 Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 39 Maryland (home), 52 Nebraska (home), 96 Iowa (away), 103 Minnesota (away),
Tier 1 Wins (RPI) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 18 Arizona (neutral), 39 Michigan (away), 41 Butler (neutral), 64 Maryland (away), 65 Marquette (away)
Tier 2: Home 31-75 (RPI) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 39 Michigan (home), 40 Louisville (home), 53 Nebraska (home), 64 Maryland (home), 108 Indiana (away), 135 Minnesota (away)
Bad Losses (sub-100 RPI OR KenPom): None
SIU-Edwardsville Cougars (8-17, 4-10 Ohio Valley) RPI: 267, KenPom: 319 – Edwardsville has lost 7 of its last 8. This week it lost at home to Eastern Illinois 78-74 and Murray State 75-66.
Chicago State Cougars (2-25, 0-10 WAC) RPI: 336, KenPom: 347 – Chicago State joins Delaware State as the only teams without a win over a Division I opponent this season. This week they lost by 40 at home to Utah Valley 97-57 and to Seattle 91-81.
Marquette Golden Eagles (14-11, 5-8 Big East) RPI: 65, KenPom: 51 – The Big East is the only thing keeping Marquette afloat, and they really need to start winning again. They got a much needed win at Seton Hall 88-85 last Wednesday but then lost at St. John’s 86-78 on Saturday. Marquette goes to Creighton on Saturday and probably needs to win 4 of the last 5 to have a realistic NCAA chance.
Fairfield Stags (10-15, 5-9 MAAC) RPI: 205, KenPom: 217 – The three game winning streak is over for Fairfield. They lost at Niagara 95-83 and at Canisius 81-63 this week.
Tennessee Volunteers (19-6, 9-4 SEC) RPI: 13, KenPom: 13 – Tennessee is in second place in the SEC after a split this past week. They lost at Alabama 78-50 but turned around to win 70-67 over South Carolina last night. To be honest, we could really use them as a win right now.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (18-7, 10-2 Conference USA) RPI: 56, KenPom: 65 – The Hilltoppers keep doing what they need to do to stay in the at large picture. Their win over Purdue is excellent, and they took care of business this week against the South Florida schools with a 75-63 win over Florida Atlantic and an 83-76 win over Florida International.
Arizona Wildcats (20-6, 10-3 Pac-12) RPI: 18, KenPom: 22 – Arizona split with the Southern California schools at home. They lost to UCLA 82-74 but beat USC 81-67. With 5 games left they lead the Pac-12 by two games over USC and UCLA. That’s good from Purdue’s perspective, but in truth the Pac-12 is probably worse than the Big Ten this year. Still, a 25 point win over a major conference champion will look excellent on Selection Sunday.
Louisville Cardinals (18-8, 8-5 ACC) RPI: 40, KenPom: 28 – After losing 4 of 5 Louisville got it together with a 77-54 win over Georgia Tech and 94-60 win over last place Pittsburgh. This week they play North Carolina and Duke in two games that can help us a ton. If they can get back into the top 30 RPI-wise the committee will see it as a tier 1 win.
Valparaiso Crusaders (13-14, 4-10 MVC) RPI: 183, KenPom: 159 – Valpo earned a split this past week with a 63-59 road loss at Evansville and a 74-58 home win over Illinois State.
IUPUI Jaguars (8-17, 5-9 Horizon League) RPI: 330, KenPom: 317 – IUPUI got a home win over Cleveland State 78-73 but lost at home to lowly Youngstown State 84-80. They have reached the bottom 25 of the RPI.
Butler Bulldogs (17-10, 7-7 Big East) RPI: 41, KenPom: 24 – Butler has lost three in a row now, but two of them are not bad lasses. They had the overtime loss to Xavier last week and they fell at Villanova 86-75 after leading much of Saturday. Last night was bad though with an 87-83 home loss to Georgetown.
Tennessee St. Tigers (14-11, 9-5 Ohio Valley) RPI: 148, KenPom: 177 – Don’t look now, but Tennessee State as slid into tier 3 with a 6-game winning streak. They stunned league leader Belmont 64-56 last Thursday and beat Jacksonville State 65-47. With the win over Belmont they are not a legitimate threat to steal the Ohio Valley autobid.
Lipscomb Bisons (17-9, 7-4 Atlantic Sun) RPI: 121, KenPom: 180 – Lipscomb avenged a pair of bad losses from earlier in the year. They beat Jacksonville 82-59 and North Florida 82-75 and sit in second place in the Atlantic Sun, 4 games behind Florida Gulf Coast. FGCU has already clinched the regular season title and No. 1 seed in the league tournament, but Lipscomb plays at FGCU on Saturday.
Wins over likely NCAA teams: Butler, Louisville, Arizona, Michigan x2
Wins over NCAA Bubble teams: Nebraska, Maryland x2, Marquette
Wins over possible Auto-bid teams: Lipscomb, Tennessee State