This weekend the selection committee will release its annual bracket preview, where they reveal the top four seeds as of this moment for all four regions. Purdue expected to be a top four protected seed in this reveal, and even ESPN is on board as we’re one of only 10 locks in this week’s Bubble Watch. It is a great place to be, for sure.
Purdue’s computer numbers continue to be excellent. We dipped slightly this week on KenPom from 8 to 10, but we have consistently been in the top 20 all season. Yes, even when we were 6-5 we were still a top 20 team on KenPom. In the NET rankings we’re holding steady at 11, and in the RPI we’re at 9. Things are going so well that Virginia Tech, Texas, and Florida State are now looking at us as a gigantic quality win for their own resumes.
I would say we’re looking at a three seed for now, with the potential to earn a 2 if we win the Big Ten. Had we beaten Florida State and Texas we’d probably be in the discussion for a No. 1 seed. A 1 seed is probably out of the question without a lot of help.
The biggest news we got was Penn State finally winning a Big Ten game and the boost it gave us. It moved them from 85 to 74 in the NET rankings, making them just barely a tier 1 victory since it came on the road. We now have six tier 1 wins, tied for second most with Wisconsin in the Big Ten in that category. Michigan State has the most such wins in the conference with nine. We’ve also played the third toughest schedule in the nation behind Kansas and Texas. We’re 10-6 against the top two tiers, and the closest game we played against the bottom two was a 9-point win over Ball State.
Record: 16-6, 9-2 Big Ten
Tier 1 Wins (KenPom) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 4 Michigan State (Home), 11 Wisconsin (Away), 20 Maryland (Home), 23 Iowa (Home), 32 Ohio State (Away), 64 Penn State (Away)
Tier 2 Wins (KenPom): Home 31-75 Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 44 Indiana (Home), 51 Minnesota (Home), 69 Belmont (Home), 75 Davidson (Neutral)
Tier 1 Wins (NET) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 7 Michigan State (Home), 12 Wisconsin (Away), 24 Maryland (Home), 22 Iowa (Home), 35 Ohio State (Away), 74 Penn State (Away)
Tier 2: Home 31-75 (NET) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 44 Indiana (Home), 53 Minnesota (Home), 68 Davidson (Neutral), 69 Belmont (Home)
Bad Losses (sub-100 NET OR KenPom): None
Fairfield Stags (7-17, 4-8 MAAC) NET: 294, KenPom: 293 – Fairfield had a busy week in playing Thursday-Saturday-Monday. They lost at Manhattan 62-49 and at Siena 61-50, but won 57-52 at Marist.
Ball State Cardinals (12-11, 3-7 MAC) NET: 103, KenPom 106 – Ball State lost at home to Kent State in overtime 83-80 for a fourth straight loss, but finally got back in the win column with a 72-71 win at Northern Illinois.
Appalachian State Mountaineers (8-14, 3-4 Sun Belt) NET: 215, KenPom: 201 – App. State has now won three in a row after a pair of victories this week. They beat Louisiana 104-77 and Louisiana-Monroe 85-84, but their overall profile is not great.
Davidson Wildcats (16-5, 7-1 Atlantic 10) NET: 63, KenPom: 75 – Davidson has now won four in a row after winning at St. Bonaventure 75-66 Friday night. They now lead the Atlantic 10 by a half game and if they stay hot, could be a Tier 1 win by the end of the season.
Virginia Tech Hokies (18-4, 7-3 ACC) NET: 10, KenPom: 9 – The Hokies earned a split this week. Saturday they won at North Carolina State 47-24 (no, that score is not a typo). Monday their home win streak was snapped by Louisville 72-64.
Robert Morris Colonials (12-11, 7-3 NEC) NET: 243, KenPom: 238 – Robert Morris was cruising along in their conference, before losing a pair of close games this past week. They lost at home to St. Francis (PA) 76-73 and at Fairleigh Dickenson 97-94 in double overtime. They still lead the conference by a full game over those two, but they missed a chance to take full control of their league. They only have one game left against a team with a winning overall record in St. Francis (NY).
Florida State Seminoles (17-5, 5-4 ACC) NET: 21, KenPom: 25 – The Seminoles won both of their games this week. They beat Georgia Tech at home 59-49 and won at Syracuse 80-62. This weekend they host Louisville.
Texas Longhorns (12-10, 4-6 Big 12) NET: 30, KenPom: 32– Texas continues to hover just over .500 after losing at Iowa State 65-60. Like Purdue, they have played a brutal schedule. Their win over us is a major lifeline to their NCAA hopes at the moment and their computer numbers are great. They are 4-5 against tier 1, beating Purdue, North Carolina, and Kansas with a win at Kansas State.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-10, 2-7 ACC) NET: 87, KenPom: 84 – The Fighting Irish finally got a win with a 79-73 win at Boston College on Saturday. Tonight they are at Miami, but they need to string some wins together to get into the NIT. This is easily Purdue’s worst loss, but it is not a bad loss.
Ohio Bobcats (11-10, 3-6 MAC) NET: 179, KenPom: 191 – The Bobcats have only played once since last week, losing at home to Akron 65-53.
Belmont Bruins (17-4, 8-2 Ohio Valley) NET: 61, KenPom: 69– This is a sneaky good win as Belmont won two more this past week. They beat Southeast Missouri 97-71 and Tennessee-Martin 82-67. They are in a four-way tie atop the Ohio Valley Conference at 8-2 with Murray State, Jacksonville State, and Austin Peay. They are the highest rated team in the league at 61 in the NET. Could they be part of a two-bid league? They are 2-1 against tier 1 and if Lipscomb can go up from 32 to 30 they would jump to 3-1. If you didn’t know, Lipscomb and Belmont is one of the best small-school rivalries out there and it is valued so much they play a home and home every year despite not being in the same conference. This year Belmont took both games, but Lipscomb is 18-4 with a NET of 32.