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Non-conference Opponents’ Update: February 28

Purdue is still looking strong for a 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Minnesota v Purdue Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

With the regular season now complete Purdue is in mostly a wait and see mode in regards to its NCAA Tournament fate. We know we’re in. We know we’re very likely getting a top 4 “protected” seed. We know that barring multiple injuries and a 30 point Friday loss to Rutgers it will even be a top 3 seed, thus avoiding a No. 1 seed as long as possible. Here is how I see things shaking out based on our big Ten Tournament performance; because Bracket Matrix has us as a consensus 2 seed right now:

Lose Friday – Likely slip to a 3 seed

Lose Saturday to Penn State or Ohio State – likely 2 seed, small chance of slipping to a 3 seed

Lose Sunday – near certain 2 seed

Win Tournament – definite 2 seed, small chance at a 1 seed

Things around the country are helping Purdue push back towards a 1 seed right now. Duke and North Carolina both suffered losses this week. Virginia, Villanova, Kansas, and Xavier are sitting in the 1 spots right now, but Villanova has been slipping with a 3-3 record in its last 6. I think a No. 1 seed for Purdue is unlikely right now, but if we win the B1G Tournament by beating Ohio State and Michigan State and Louisville can climb from 39 to 30 in the RPI (with a home game against Virginia as a great chance) we will be 9-3 in tier 1 games. At that point only North Carolina and Kansas will have more tier 1 wins.

Purdue Boilermakers Profile

Record: 26-5, 15-3 Big Ten

RPI: 9 (Up 2 from last week)

KenPom: 4 (Up 2 from last week)

Tier 1 Wins (KenPom) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 15 Michigan (away), 15 Michigan (home), 20 Butler (neutral), 26 Arizona (neutral), 44 Maryland (away), 50 Marquette (away), 73 Indiana (away)

Tier 2 Wins (KenPom): Home 31-75 Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 33 Penn State (home), 34 Louisville (home), 44 Maryland (home), 51 Nebraska (home), 98 Iowa (away), 99 Illinois (away), 109 Minnesota (away)

Tier 1 Wins (RPI) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 17 Arizona (neutral), 25 Michigan (away), 25 Michigan (home), 34 Butler (neutral), 62 Marquette (away), 65 Maryland (away)

Tier 2: Home 31-75 (RPI) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 39 Louisville (home), 59 Nebraska (home), 65 Maryland (home), 110 Indiana (away)

Bad Losses (sub-100 RPI OR KenPom): at Wisconsin (119 RPI, 79 KenPom) – Because of the expanded RPI the road loss is considered only a tier 2 loss, so it is not as bad as we had thought, but it still cost us the Big Ten title.

SIU-Edwardsville Cougars (9-20, 5-13 Ohio Valley) RPI: 282, KenPom: 312 – SIUE finished the season with losses to Austin Peay 86-82 and Eastern Illinois 68-56. They start the Ohio Valley Tournament tonight against Tennessee Tech.

Chicago State Cougars (2-28, 0-13 WAC) RPI: 339, KenPom: 348 – The Cougars have not beaten a Division I team since January 12, 2017. That streak is now 40 straight Division I losses after losing to New Mexico State 78-67 and Texas-Rio Grande Valley 83-75.

Marquette Golden Eagles (17-12, 8-9 Big East) RPI: 62, KenPom: 50 – Marquette is balancing on the Bubble after a 2-1 week. They beat St. John’s 85-73 and Georgetown 90-86, but had a crippling 70-62 loss at DePaul. Saturday’s game against Creighton at home is virtually a must win for their NCAA hopes.

Fairfield Stags (14-15, 9-9 MAAC) RPI: 194, KenPom: 220 – Fairfield got the 5 seed in the MAAC Tournament with a .500 record after beating Siena 70-69 and Monmouth 69-66 this week. They enter having won four in a row, but Rider (22-8 with a win at Penn state) is the favorite.

Tennessee Volunteers (22-7, 12-5 SEC) RPI: 8, KenPom: 13 – Tennessee is the highest RPI team Purdue has played. After beating Florida 62-57, Mississippi 73-65, and Mississippi State 76-54 this past week they can win at least a share of the SEC title by beating Georgia in Knoxville on Saturday. Basically, the Arizona win looks good right now, but Tennessee would have been a better win. No one would have thought that back then.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (22-7, 14-2 Conference USA) RPI: 53, KenPom: 53 – WKU beat Charlotte 93-55 and Old Dominion 88-66 this week, but their big game is tomorrow night at Middle Tennessee State. An MTSU win clinches the Conference USA title for MTSU. A WKU win likely gives the two teams a split and both would be in the at large conversation.

Arizona Wildcats (22-7, 12-4 Pac-12) RPI: 17, KenPom: 26 – The Wildcats had an… interesting week. Allonzo Trier is suspended for PEDs. Deandre Ayton may or may not be eligible much longer, and coach Sean Miller may not be employed much longer. Through this Arizona won at Oregon State 75-65 but lost at Oregon 98-93. If they find a way to win both home games this weekend against the Bay Area schools they will win the Pac-12 title outright.

Louisville Cardinals (19-10, 9-7 ACC) RPI: 39, KenPom: 34 – Louisville is the team to watch for us. They lost at Duke 82-56, but got a very nice road win at Virginia Tech 75-68. We need them to rise 9 spots to No. 30 and get on tier 1 for us, and they have a great chance to do so this week. They host No. 1 Virginia tomorrow and go to No. 49 NC State Saturday.

Valparaiso Crusaders (15-16, 6-12 MVC) RPI: 178, KenPom: 150 – Valparaiso won its regular season finale at Drake 69-64, but they finished dead last in the Missouri Valley Conference. They will play Paul Lusk’s Missouri State tomorrow night in Arch Madness in St. Louis.

IUPUI Jaguars (11-18, 8-10 Horizon League) RPI: 290, KenPom: 284 – The Jags beat Wright State 66-56 but lost to Northern Kentucky 75-56 to close the regular season. They will be the 5 seed in the Horizon League Tournament and open play Saturday against Oakland in Detroit.

Butler Bulldogs (19-10, 9-7 Big East) RPI: 34, KenPom: 20 – Butler has not played since the last update, but they are at St. John’s tonight before going to Seton Hall on Saturday.

Tennessee St. Tigers (15-14, 10-8 Ohio Valley) RPI: 173, KenPom: 195 – After winning 7 straight Tennessee State has now lost three straight after losing to Tennessee Tech 69-64 and Belmont 84-59. They open Ohio Valley Tournament play tonight against Eastern Illinois.

Lipscomb Bisons (21-9, 10-4 Atlantic Sun) RPI: 111, KenPom: 177 – Lipscomb closed the regular season by beating Kennesaw State 83-74, then won their Atlantic Sun quarterfinal 89-73 over Stetson. They play Jacksonville in the semifinals tomorrow night, and they split the regular season series with the Dolphins. Should they win, they would be a game away from their first ever NCAA berth in the final. The final is at 3pm Saturday on ESPN and is the first automatic bid to be handed out. It will likely be against Florida Gulf Coast, and the two split the season series. It would be at FGCU since they are the higher seed, but Lipscomb won their a few weeks ago.

Wins over likely NCAA teams: Butler, Louisville, Arizona, Michigan x2

Wins over NCAA Bubble teams: Nebraska, Maryland x2, Marquette, Penn State

Wins over possible Auto-bid teams: Lipscomb