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Non-Conference Opponents Update: January 9

The goal this year is to make the NCAA Tournament, and that is still very much alive.

Purdue v Michigan State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

After last night’s loss at Michigan State Purdue is 9-6. It is not a record we are used to having at this point in the year, but there is some good news in it. Not a single loss can be considered a “bad” loss. We also have our toughest road games out of the way. We have played four true road games so far and three have come against teams in the top 15. The other two losses were at a neutral site, one to a top 10 team. That’s four losses to the top 15.

Of course, those are still missed opportunities. The benefit of Purdue’s schedule and the Big Ten overall this year is that there are plenty of chances for good wins both home and away. Last night sucked, but it was not a game we had a great chance to win anyway. The ones that really hurt are Florida State, Virginia Tech, and Texas. Those probably should have been wins as Purdue held a late lead in each and could not hold on. Florida State was the worst, as missed free throws, a bad game from Carsen Edwards, and Ryan Cline freezing up really cost us.

We can still be an NCAA team, however. It will likely take 10 wins in the last 16 games before the Big Ten Tournament, but that can be done because our overall profile is still strong. Our computer numbers are excellent and our overall Strength of Schedule is 3 out of 351 Division I teams.

Purdue Boilermakers Profile

Record: 9-6, 2-2 Big Ten

RPI: 21

KenPom: 17

Tier 1 Wins (KenPom) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 20 Maryland (Home)

Tier 2 Wins (KenPom): Home 31-75 Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 43 Iowa (Home), 71 Ball State (Home), 92 Davidson (Neutral), 100 Belmont (Home)

Tier 1 Wins (RPI) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 23 Maryland (Home)

Tier 2: Home 31-75 (RPI) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 42 Iowa (Home), 52 Belmont (Home), 60 Davidson (Neutral)

Bad Losses (sub-100 RPI OR KenPom): Notre Dame (RPI 140)

Fairfield Stags (4-11, 1-2 MAAC) RPI: 311, KenPom: 235 – The Stags have only beaten New Hampshire, Denver, Bucknell, Niagara. They have the look of a team that will be near the bottom of the MAAC, which is already a one bid league.

Ball State Cardinals (10-5, 1-1 MAC) RPI: 95, KenPom 71 – A strong season from the Cardinals has this as a decent win on our profile. They have quality mid-major wins over Evansville, Indiana State, Valparaiso, and IUPUI. To open MAC play they got a really good win at Toledo 79-64 over the weekend, but dropped an overtime game at home last night to Eastern Michigan, which was really bad.

Appalachian State Mountaineers (5-10, 0-2 Sun Belt) RPI: 273, KenPom: 208 – Don’t expect much from App. State. They have only two wins against Division I competition and they were against Howard and North Carolina Central. They have a lot of very narrow losses though, so they might be good for a Sun Belt upset or two.

Davidson Wildcats (10-4, 1-0 Atlantic 10) RPI: 60, KenPom: 92 – This stands as Purdue’s best non-conference win right now, mostly because it was on a neutral court. Their four losses were against us, Wake Forest, North Carolina, and Temple, with Temple coming in overtime. They can make a run in the Atlantic 10, however, and possibly be an at large team.

Virginia Tech Hokies (13-1, 2-0 ACC) RPI: 40, KenPom: 8 – Here was missed opportunity No. 1. The Hokies have been playing great basketball and their only loss was at Penn State right after we played them. Tonight they are at Georgia Tech and they already beat Notre Dame and Boston College in ACC play.

Robert Morris Colonials (7-8, 2-0 NEC) RPI: 314, KenPom: 283 – Purdue had very few guarantee games this year, and this was one of them. They have two non-D1 wins and haven’t beaten a team with a winning record. They did play Louisville realtively close.

Florida State Seminoles (12-2, 0-1 ACC) RPI: 10, KenPom: 18 – This is the one that is going to sting all year long. FSU has only lost to Villanova and Virginia, but we blew this one. It could have been an excellent road win, but instead it is a missed opportunity because we could not close them out.

Texas Longhorns (10-5, 2-1 Big 12) RPI: 37, KenPom: 29 – Like Florida State, this is a missed opportunity. Purdue wasted its best Carsen game and if we had the support from even last night this is a win. Texas is going to be in the at large discussion all year and they basically have a direct comparison tiebreaker over us now.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-5, 0-2) RPI: 140, KenPom: 75 – This is technically Purdue’s worst loss at the moment, but it won’t be that bad because the ACC will boost them up all year. They already dropped their first two ACC games to Virginia Tech and Syracuse.

Ohio Bobcats (8-6, 0-2 MAC) RPI: 118, KenPom: 189 – This convincing Purdue win was just another bye game, but it at least served to reset things after our brutal December stretch. They lost to Northern Illinois and Bowling Green this week and play at Ball State this weekend.

Belmont Bruins (9-3, 1-1 Ohio Valley) RPI: 52, KenPom: 100 – Any at large chances Belmont had likely relied on an unbeaten run through the Ohio Valley Conference, but they lost their opener at home to Jacksonville State. They then beat Tennessee State at least, but they need to dominate the OVC and stay on Tier 2 for us.

Rating the last 16 games in terms of likelihood of wins:

  1. Illinois (Home)
  2. Rutgers (Home)
  3. Penn State (Home)
  4. Penn State (Road)
  5. Northwestern (Road)
  6. Nebraska (Home)
  7. Minnesota (Home)
  8. Wisconsin (Road)
  9. Indiana (Home)
  10. Nebraska (Road)
  11. Minnesota (Road)
  12. Ohio State (Home)
  13. Maryland (Road)
  14. Indiana (Road)
  15. Ohio State (Road)
  16. Michigan State (Home)

The top 5 there are pretty much non-negotiable. Lose any of those and we’re done. In the next 5 holding serve at home is the biggest key, but I really think we can win at Wisconsin. and Nebraska. Int he bottom six if we can get 2-3, even better.