An important thing to remember after last night is that Purdue’s profile overall took little damage. We were a 3 or 4 seed going in and we’re probably a 3 or 4 seed still. Bracket Matrix had us solidly as a three seed before last night and we’re still there. With Kansas and Virginia Tech both losing last night (but projected 4 seed Florida State winning) we’re still solid. Obviously Florida State and Virginia Tech have the advantage of a head to head win over us, but our profile remains strong.
And really, a 3 seed is a very good spot for us. We avoid a 1 seed (our nemesis) for as long as possible. We’re favored in our first two games with a strong chance of playing consecutive double-digits seeds. The goal of winning the Big Ten is still alive too. If we can’t beat last place Northwestern on Saturday we don’t deserve to be champs anyway.
The only thing really lost last night was the outright Big Ten title. That’s it. Minnesota is probably a tournament team and they played well at home. We had just about everything that could go against us happen and still only lost by 4 (and would have had a chance at a tie or win with 5 seconds left had the review of the ball off of Amir Coffey gone differently). It is not a bad loss and I don’t fault Minnesota for playing desperately at home as a bubble team.
My largest concern is with Carsen Edwards. Yes, we still have an excellent chance at an unexpected Big Ten title. Yes, we still have an excellent chance at a three seed (probably a lock with a win over Northwestern and a Friday win in the Big Ten Tournament). I do not like how Carsen has been off for most of a month now. Yes, he very well could turn it on and go bananas in the NCAAs, leading us on a deep run. Last night showed he could also shoot us right out of a game. My biggest concern is that he is missing open looks. Last night we got him at least three wide open, set looks at threes in the second half where he could square his shoulders and get off a great shot. He missed all of them.
Carsen needs to score off the drive to open everything up. He hasn’t been getting calls at the glass and that is frustrating him. He is even struggling at the foul line. We have got to hope that he busts out of this slump soon. We have seen that he can be really, really good when he is good. He is capable of a four-game run that takes us back to Minneapolis. Last night was the opposite though. He is also capable of a 5 for 25 performance that results in a second round loss.
As long as we beat Northwestern and win the Big Ten the season is still an unmitigated success. All four conference losses are to now likely NCAA Tournament teams. Michigan cannot say that with their loss at Penn State. They also lost at Wisconsin, where we won. Michigan State cannot say that with their loss to Illinois and two losses to Indiana. Even a share of the Big Ten was not in consideration before the season, let alone when we were 6-5 in December. Letting it slip away with a loss in Evanston now would be demoralizing, but if you told me on December we could split the Big Ten title with a win over Northwestern in the final game I would have taken it, and so would any other Purdue fan.
In the meantime, here is our NCAA profile.
Record: 22-7, 15-4 Big Ten
NET: 11 (Up one from last week)
KenPom: 10 (Identical to last week)
Tier 1 NET record: 7-7
Tier 2 NET record: 8-0
Tier 1 Wins (KenPom) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 4 Michigan State (Home), 12 Wisconsin (Away), 18 Maryland (Home), 39 Ohio State (Away), 46 Nebraska (away), 47 Indiana (Away), 43 Penn State (Away)
Tier 2 Wins (KenPom): Home 31-75 Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 39 Ohio State (Home), 40 Iowa (Home), 46 Nebraska (Home), 47 Indiana (Home), 45 Minnesota (Home), 43 Penn State (Home), 51 Belmont (Home), 63 Illinois (Home)
Tier 1 Wins (NET) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 8 Michigan State (Home), 17 Wisconsin (Away), 28 Maryland (Home), 43 Ohio State (Away), 48 Penn State (Away), 51 Nebraska (Away) 55 Indiana (Away)
Tier 2: Home 31-75 (NET) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 40 Iowa (Home), 43 Ohio State (Home), 48 Penn State (Home), 45 Nebraska (Home), 55 Indiana (Home), 56 Minnesota (Home), 50 Belmont (Home), 71 Davidson (Neutral)
Bad Losses (sub-100 NET OR KenPom): Notre Dame (Net 103)
Fairfield Stags (9-21, 6-12 MAAC) NET: 293, KenPom: 292 – The MAAC Tournament gets underway tomorrow and Fairfield is the 10 seed after splitting its last two games. The Stags beat Marist 59-44 but lost at St. Peter’s 62-52. They will play 7 Manhattan, with whom they split during the season.
Ball State Cardinals (15-15, 6-11 MAC) NET: 122, KenPom 127 – Ball State beat Western Michigan 60-58 but lost at Eastern Michigan 68-61 last night. They have won game left in league play as they host Northern Illinois on Friday.
Appalachian State Mountaineers (10-19, 5-11 Sun Belt) NET: 205, KenPom: 209– App. State split both of its games this past week, losing at Louisiana-Monroe 81-75 but beating Louisiana 90-80 to break a three-game losing streak. They are currently tied for 10th in the Sun Belt.
Davidson Wildcats (21-8, 12-4 Atlantic 10) NET: 71, KenPom: 77 – The Wildcats are now two games back in the loss column in the Atlantic 10 after a split last week, and their at large chances have dwindled. They had a bad 79-69 loss at LaSalle but beat Fordham 77-52.
Virginia Tech Hokies (22-7, 11-6 ACC) NET: 12, KenPom: 11 – The only game Virginia Tech has played since last week was their 73-64 overtime loss at Florida State last night. As has been the case all along, this was a missed opportunity and we have a similar profile to them, but they are 4-7 against Quad 1.
Robert Morris Colonials (16-15, 11-7 NEC) NET: 261, KenPom: 262 – Robert Morris finished tied for third a game out of first place, in the jumbled mess that is the NEC. They lost at Sacred Heart 87-63 but won at Wagner 69-60 to close the regular season. They play at 7pm today as the 4 seed in their conference tournament against St. Francis (NY).
Florida State Seminoles (24-6, 12-5 ACC) NET: 19, KenPom: 16 – The Seminoles assured themselves of a top 4 ACC finish with last night’s win over Virginia Tech and a 78-73 win over North Carolina State. They finish the regular season on Saturday at Wake Forest.
Texas Longhorns (16-14, 8-9 Big 12) NET: 33, KenPom: 26 – Texas lost at Baylor 84-83 in overtime last week but rebounded to beat Iowa State 86-69 on Saturday. On Monday they lost at Texas Tech 70-51, putting htem barely over .500, but with a strong profile. It would behoove them to beat TCU this weekend.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (13-16, 3-13 ACC) NET: 103, KenPom: 85 – The Fighting Irish have played just once since last Wednesday, but it was a 71-65 loss at Louisville. If we can get them over 100 on the NET rankings it will give us no losses against the bottom two quadrants.
Ohio Bobcats (13-16, 5-12 MAC) NET: 181, KenPom: 181 – The Bobcats got a split in their last two games. They won at Akron 73-49 but lost to ranked Buffalo 82-79 last night.
Belmont Bruins (25-4, 16-2 Ohio Valley) NET: 45, KenPom: 51 – At minimum, Belmont has clinched an NIT bid with a regular season OVC title thanks to wins over Tennessee-Martin 112-67 and Southeast Missouri 84-66. Their regular season win at Murray State is a tier 1 victory and the tiebreaker for their league’s No. 1 seed. If they make the conference final and lose to the Racers they stand a legitimate chance at being an at large team. They play SE Missouri again tonight in the quarterfinals.