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Poll Dancing: Purdue Finishes 2019 Strong, Starts 2020 in Familiar Spot

Purdue finished the 2018-19 season with its highest ranking in 25 years.

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional-Purdue vs Virginia Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike college football, polls don’t mean a ton at the end of the season. They are mostly there for stat nerds like myself. Truth be told, they really don’t mean a lot during the season either. They are mostly there to make fans feel good and/or start arguments. Purdue has been a fixture in the polls for most of the past four seasons. We were only out of the poll for one week in 2017-18 and this season we at least received votes in every poll despite being out of the top 25 for a good portion of the season.

Thanks to our great run in the NCAA Tournament Purdue finished higher than it has in 25 years. The coaches poll has Purdue eighth in its final poll, the highest finish since 1994 (italics = teams Purdue played in 2018-19):

  1. Virginia
  2. Texas Tech
  3. Michigan State
  4. Duke
  5. Auburn
  6. Gonzaga
  7. Kentucky
  8. Purdue
  9. North Carolina
  10. Tennessee
  11. Michigan
  12. Houston
  13. Florida State
  14. Virginia Tech
  15. LSU
  16. Kansas
  17. Buffalo
  18. Wofford
  19. Kansas State
  20. Villanova
  21. Oregon
  22. Maryland
  23. Nevada
  24. Wisconsin
  25. Iowa State

This shows just what Purdue accomplished this year. In the tournament alone it beat #10 and #20. In the regular season it had wins over #3, #22, and #24 while also playing #11, #13, and #14.

So what about 2019-20? Many of the “Way Too Early” polls are starting to come out and even without Carsen Edwards they are high on Purdue:

SB Nation

Mike Rutherford, who runs the Louisville site Card Chronicle in addition to working the college basketball beat, is still high on Purdue. He has Purdue at #19 in his early rankings:

Matt Painter will lose two senior starters as well as star junior Carsen Edwards, who’s off to the NBA. Nojel Eastern, Matt Haarms, Trevion Williams and Aaron Wheeler might not form a nucleus strong enough to get back to a regional final, but it’s certainly a nucleus strong enough to once again finish near the top of the Big Ten standings.


This one is a bit of a mixed bag. Purdue is not in their way-too-early top 25, but in Joe Lunardi’s first Bracketology the Boilers are projected as a No. 4 seed,which is a roughly a ranking between 13-16. The too early top 25 has some really wild swings too, such as Ohio State at 10, Oregon at 11, Seton Hall at 12, and Arizona at 17. The Oregon explanation makes little sense compared to Purdue, too. Basically, “Oregon loses a lot but made a Sweet 16 run after underachieving all year.

CBS Sports

In their top 25 (and 1) Purdue is also at No. 19. They are also high on Michigan and Michigan State in the Big Ten, with a young Maryland team in the top 10 and Iowa in the top 20. That will make for another tough Big Ten slate.

USA Today

Purdue is not in their top 25, but Minnesota, Ohio State, Iowa, and Creighton are.

Sports Illustrated

Purdue is also not in this top 25, but they have Ohio State as high as ninth(!), which is pretty absurd.

The Sporting News

This one has Purdue’s highest ranking at No. 9, but that was before Carsen Edwards made his announcement. Considering that there is less than a 1% chance Carsen is coming back this ranking seems very high, but it would be an accurate one if he were returning.

Once the smoke clears of the early departures I can see Purdue starting the year in a very familiar position in the 19-25 range. That’s where we have often been these last three seasons, and starting there would be an excellent jumping off point for 2019-20.