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Non-Conference Opponents’ Update: December 26

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Yes, Purdue is still an NCAA Tournament team.

NCAA Basketball: Crossroads Classic-Purdue at Butler Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back from Christmas and happy Boxing Day, everyone! I hope you all enjoy your wealth of Premier League action today. The Purdue of the EPL, Newcastle, gets Manchester United today, and your top matchup is first place Liverpool facing second place Leicester City at 3pm.

We’re here to talk basketball, however, and with Purdue’s non-conference season all but complete (they are not losing at home to Central Michigan) it is a good time to look back at where Purdue was a year ago at this time. On December 26, 2018 Purdue was… 7-5, with one non-conference game left. It was coming off of a 28-point win over Ohio, which came five days after a listless 88-80 loss in Indianapolis at the Crossroads Classic. The RPI and KenPom were similar to what they are now. Purdue had one good win (home over Maryland) but it now has two (Virginia and VCU).

Basically, we’re in almost the exact same spot as last year at this time. Purdue was also 1-1 in the conference, although the loss at Michigan in December was far better than the loss at Nebraska. After Nebraska just lost at home to North Dakota it confirmed my belief that our loss in Lincoln was the worst for the program since losing at home to Gardner-Webb on December 22, 2014. There are some other candidates there, but at least Little Rock was an NCAA Tournament team.

The good news is that it is just one bad loss. They are the first team that is likely to finish outside the top 100 since Gardner-Webb. There is time to recover, and everyone else in the conference outside of Michigan State already has a loss, so we’re not even out of that race, either. Like last season, Purdue just needs more consistent offense. It will be different this year with no Carsen Edwards, but Casey will soon have an article about Coach Painter finding his guys late in the Crossroads game much like last year.

This is still a tournament team. It can still be a very good team, but there is a lot of work to do.

Purdue Boilermakers Profile

Record: 7-5, 1-1 Big Ten

NET: 45 (Down 8 from last week)

KenPom: 13 (Down 4 from last week)

Tier 1 Wins (KenPom) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 22 Virginia (home), 49 VCU (neutral)

Tier 2 Wins (KenPom): Home 31-75 Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: None

Tier 1 Wins (NET) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: None

Tier 2: Home 31-75 (NET) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 60 VCU (Neutral), 67 Virginia (home)

Bad Losses (sub-100 NET OR KenPom): at Nebraska (175 NET, 139 KenPom)

Green Bay Phoenix (5-8, 0-0 Horizon League) – NET: 233, KenPom: 214 – The Phoenix have won two in a row now, notching an 85-84 win at Northern Illinois on Saturday. They begin conference play this weekend at Wright State.

Texas Longhorns (9-2, 0-0 Big 12) – NET: 84, KenPom: 60 – Texas looked really bad in a 70-48 loss at Providence on Saturday, dropping them out of the top 50 of both the NET and KenPom. Purdue is, by far, their best win, and they have not proven a lot against a relatively weak non-conference slate. The Big 12 will be tough.

Marquette Golden Eagles (9-2, 0-0 Big East) – NET: 50, KenPom: 31 – The Golden Eagles have won four in a row after beating North Dakota State 82-68, but like Texas, this was a missed opportunity for Purdue, especially after we blew an 18-point first half lead. Marquette, Texas, and Florida State bother me as losses more than Butler because we should have won all three of those.

Chicago State Cougars (4-10, 0-0 WAC) – NET: 347, KenPom: 352 – The Cougars dropped two more games since we last checked in. They lost at home to Northern Illinois 75-60 and at Indiana State 85-64. They are off until going to Missouri on Monday.

Jacksonville St. Gamecocks (4-8, 0-0 Ohio Valley) – NET: 255, KenPom: 246 – Jacksonville State had just one game in the past week, a 75-53 loss at Tennessee. They have a non-Division I game this weekend before starting conference play.

Virginia Commonwealth Rams (9-3, 0-0 Atlantic 10) – NET: 60, KenPom: 49 – VCU won at Charleston 76-71, but missed on a chance at a great non-conference win by falling 73-63 at Wichita State on Saturday. They should beat Loyola-Maryland on Saturday before they start Atlantic 10 play.

Florida State Seminoles (10-2, 1-1 ACC) – NET: 25, KenPom: 17 – It pisses me off we lost this game by one possession for the second year in a row, especially when Indiana managed to easily beat them. This past weekend they beat South Florida 66-60 in Sunrise, Florida, but that is a pretty dull win. This week they get Division I newcomer North Alabama.

Virginia Cavaliers (9-2, 1-0 ACC) – NET: 67, KenPom: 22 – South Carolina won in Charlottesville 70-59 on Sunday, completely torpedoing Virginia’s computer rankings. South Carolina has lost to Boston University, which is not great, but they walked into the Champs’ house and beat them by 11. Their numbers will go up in ACC play, but like Purdue, they need to fix their offense.

Ohio Bobcats (8-4, 0-0 MAC) – NET: 140, KenPom: 180– Ohio got a home win over Morehead State 82-76 and will host Campbell this weekend before starting MAC play.

Butler Bulldogs (11-1, 0-0 Big East) – NET: 3, KenPom: 7 – It turns out Butler is really, really good this year. They are the best team in the state, in fact. Their defense was stifling and a large reason Purdue couldn’t get anything going, and they always had an answer for any Purdue run on Saturday. There is no shame in a loss to them, but where Purdue’s season is frustrating is that it probably should have won its other four losses.

Central Michigan Chippewas (7-5, 0-0 MAC) – NET: 230, KenPom: 191 – NO GAME SINCE LAST UPDATE.