Well, Purdue’s winning streak is over. We knew it had to end at some time, and Maryland was always a likely candidate. The Terrapins turned up their defense last night and forced Purdue into a dismal shooting second half. The Boilers were 6 of 37 from the floor in the half and hit just one field goal in the final nine minutes. It was frustrating because if Purdue hits its normal percentage or if Aaron Wheeler knocks down his wide open looks in the second half things are likely different.
The good news it is about as good of a loss as you can have. Maryland is a Tier 1 team and very likely going to the tournament. They even have a chance to play their way into a good seed. Because Penn State upset Michigan last night we’re still tied for first place in the Big Ten in the loss column. Michigan and Michigan State are with us, but they still must play each other twice. Michigan also must play Maryland twice, too. We don’t have any games left among the top 7 in the league. In fact, we only have one game left against a team that would be in the NCAA field if the tournament started today and that is Ohio State at home.
That is not to say that 7-0 and a league title is guaranteed. Four of our remaining games are on the road including at Indiana. It is ALWAYS tough to beat the Hoosiers at home. We need to take things one game at a time starting Saturday afternoon against Penn State. The Nittany Lions already took us to overtime and just beat Michigan, so they are hardly a pushover.
As far as our NCAA seeding goes, Purdue is still pretty solidly a 3 seed. Our profile is excellent with s 6-6 record against tier 1 teams and 5-1 against Tier 2. The win at Penn State is just barely on tier 2 as even their win over Michigan last night has them right at 75, which is the cutoff. The Notre Dame loss, our one tier 2 loss, is just barely hanging on there too as they are at 100 in the NET rankings, which is the last spot for a tier 2 neutral site game. All four of our remaining road games would be tier 1 wins, while Ohio State is approaching tier 1 status for our home game.
Record: 17-7, 10-3 Big Ten
Tier 1 Wins (KenPom) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 4 Michigan State (Home), 11 Wisconsin (Away), 16 Maryland (Home), 25 Iowa (Home), 32 Ohio State (Away), 58 Penn State (Away)
Tier 2 Wins (KenPom): Home 31-75 Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 35 Nebraska (Home), 45 Indiana (Home), 56 Minnesota (Home), 64 Belmont (Home), 75 Davidson (Neutral)
Tier 1 Wins (NET) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 8 Michigan State (Home), 11 Wisconsin (Away), 23 Maryland (Home), 26 Iowa (Home), 37 Ohio State (Away), 75 Penn State (Away)
Tier 2: Home 31-75 (NET) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 40 Nebraska (Home), 48 Indiana (Home), 58 Minnesota (Home), 70 Davidson (Neutral), 60 Belmont (Home)
Bad Losses (sub-100 NET OR KenPom): None
Fairfield Stags (7-18, 4-9 MAAC) NET: 305, KenPom: 302 – Fairfield only played once in the last week and it was a 61-49 loss at home to Monmouth. As expected, this game is doing nothing for us.
Ball State Cardinals (13-11, 4-7 MAC) NET: 102, KenPom 106 – Ball State earned a 79-59 win at home against Western Michigan, but it has still been a terribly disappointing MAC season for them. They have 6 losses by 6 points or less.
Appalachian State Mountaineers (8-16, 3-8 Sun Belt) NET: 211, KenPom: 198 – The winning streak is over for the Mountaineers. They lost at Texas State 74-71 and at Texas-Arlington 78-68 to stay well off the pace in the Sun Belt.
Davidson Wildcats (18-6, 9-2 Atlantic 10) NET: 70, KenPom: 75 – The Wildcats have had three game since our last update. The beat Rhode Island 68-53 but lost at UMass 54-51. They recovered to beat Fordham 79-69 last night, giving them a half game lead in the Atlantic 10. They are not an at large team as of now, going 0-2 against tier 1, but they are favored to win their league title.
Virginia Tech Hokies (18-5, 7-4 ACC) NET: 14, KenPom: 10 – The Hokies lost their second straight this weekend at Clemson 59-51. They host Georgia tech tonight and are still solidly in the field, but this was another missed opportunity for a quality non-conference win.
Robert Morris Colonials (13-12, 8-4 NEC) NET: 258, KenPom: 253 – The Colonials got a 72-59 win over Bryant to end their losing streak, but dropped their third game in four to Central Connecticut State 77-68. They are still tied atop their league with St. Francis (PA) and play at St. Francis on Saturday. They already lost to them by 3 at home.
Florida State Seminoles (18-5, 6-4 ACC) NET: 25, KenPom: 22 – The Noles got a very nice win over Louisville on Saturday 80-75 in overtime. They are not going to win the ACC, but they are still a solid tournament team.
Texas Longhorns (14-11, 6-6 Big 12) NET: 32, KenPom: 28– Texas is going to be a very interesting case on Selection Sunday. They lost at home to Kansas State last night 71-64, but got some good wins in their last two games before that. They beat Baylor 84-72 and won at West Virginia 75-53. Their numbers are excellent, but it is entirely possible they won’t even finish over .500.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (13-11, 3-8 ACC) NET: 100, KenPom: 89 – Notre Dame lost at Miami last week 62-47 in a pretty dismal performance, but recovered and beat Georgia Tech 69-59. They won’t go to the tournament, but staying in the top 100 and not being a “bad loss” helps us.
Ohio Bobcats (11-12, 3-8 MAC) NET: 189, KenPom: 217 – Ohio is now under .500 overall. They lost 79-59 at Miami (OH) and at home to Eastern Michigan 66-57. Next Tuesday is their biggest game at ranked Buffalo.
Belmont Bruins (19-4, 10-2 Ohio Valley) NET: 60, KenPom: 64– Belmont Is closing in on potential at large consideration. They had a very good week beating Eastern Kentucky 83-65 and Morehead State 96-86. They remain tied atop the OVC with Austin Peay and Murray State, each at 10-2, but Belmont has the tiebreaker having beaten both. With Lipscomb climbing to 30 in the NET rankings Belmont is now 3-1 against tier 1. They have beaten Lipscomb twice and their win at Murray State is a tier 1 win, with the lone loss coming at Purdue. If the Bruins win out and lose a close OVC title game to Murray State they could be in the at large pool.