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Non-Conference Opponents Update: January 8

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Purdue’s overall profile is NCAA worthy... for now.

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Purdue Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

There is no question that Purdue has work to do. The loss to Illinois and the previous loss to Nebraska have moved Purdue way down on the computer numbers and in bracket projections. The good news is that if the tournament started today, the Boilermakers would still be an NCAA Tournament team. The bad news is that there is still half the season to play.

Obviously if Purdue continues to play as poorly as it did Sunday night in Champaign this is all moot. It is unlikely Purdue will beat anyone if it plays that badly, and even small improvements would still have this team in jeopardy. Purdue is currently the worst shooting team in the Big Ten from the field, and it is even more telling that we have two talented big men, but we’re missing everything right at the rim. Purdue is actually performing better (7th in the Big Ten) from three, so its troubles are right at the rim.

Purdue’s defense is keeping it in games. Purdue absolutely should at least have a chance if it holds a team to 63 points while on the road. It is the offense that is a mess. EVERYONE struggled on Sunday, and there has to be a way to fix it.

In terms of our NCAA profile, I am still keeping track of this because a very strong Big Ten means a wealth of opportunities to keep the profile NCAA-worthy. Right now, 11 of 14 teams in the conference are in the top 50 of the NET rankings, and we’re very close ourselves at No. 51. With 16 games left that means we have 15 chances left to get top 50 wins.

You can view it two ways: Either Purdue has a ton of opportunity ahead if it improves things, or it is completely screwed because it won’t improve. It seems likely that Purdue still makes the NCAA Tournament at 9-7 the rest of the way, but we need to see improvement to get there, to be sure.

Bracket Matrix Consensus: 10 seed

Record: 9-6, 1-1 Big Ten

NET: 51 (Down 8 from last week)

KenPom: 22 (Down 10 from last week)

Tier 1 Wins (KenPom) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 41 VCU (Neutral)

Tier 2 Wins (KenPom): Home 31-75 Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 36 Virginia (home), 39 Minnesota (home)

Tier 1 Wins (NET) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 30 VCU (Neutral)

Tier 2: Home 31-75 (NET) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 40 Minnesota (Home), 63 Virginia (home)

Bad Losses (sub-100 NET OR KenPom): at Nebraska (150 NET, 137 KenPom)

Green Bay Phoenix (7-10, 2-2 Horizon League) – NET: 228, KenPom: 198 – Green Bay had a split this week. They beat Illinois-Chicago 85-71 at home, but dropped a home game to the IUPUI Hoosiermakers 93-78 on Sunday. Thanks a lot for helping your former team, Grant Weatherford.

Texas Longhorns (10-3, 0-1 Big 12) – NET: 67, KenPom: 64 – Texas does not have a lot of substance to their profile because we are their best win, and that doesn’t look too great right now. They lost their Big 12 opener 59-44 to Baylor over the weekend and host Oklahoma tonight.

Marquette Golden Eagles (11-4, 1-2 Big East) – NET: 35, KenPom: 35 – The Golden Eagles got a really good Big East win over Villanova on Saturday 71-60, but dropped a heartbreaker last night at home to Providence 81-80 in overtime.

Chicago State Cougars (4-13, 0-2 WAC) – NET: 351, KenPom: 352 – Yeah, Chicago State continues to suck. They have only played once since last week, but it was an 86-54 home loss to Seattle. They travel to New Mexico State tomorrow night.

Jacksonville St. Gamecocks (7-8, 2-0 Ohio Valley) – NET: 229, KenPom: 234 – Jacksonville State is on a bit of a roll and has won five of six now. That includes opening their conference 2-0 with wins at Morehead State 76-72 and Eastern Kentucky 80-71.

Virginia Commonwealth Rams (12-3, 2-0 Atlantic 10) – NET: 30, KenPom: 41 – VCU is also hot right now, having won 6 of 7 since the tournament down in Florida. They started Atlantic 10 play 2-0 with a 64-46 home win over Fordham and a 72-59 home win over George Mason. By the computers this is Purdue’s best win.

Florida State Seminoles (13-2, 3-1 ACC) – NET: 18, KenPom: 14 – A three-point overtime loss where Purdue had multiple chances to win in overtime and regulation still hurts. They got a very nice 78-65 win at Louisville over the weekend and look like one of the best teams in the ACC.

Virginia Cavaliers (11-3, 3-1 ACC) – NET: 63, KenPom: 36 – Virginia got a 65-39 home win over rival Virginia Tech on Saturday, but last night was a rough one. They went to Boston College and lost 60-53. That’s a really tough loss, but this is still a solid NCAA team this year.

Ohio Bobcats (9-6, 1-1 MAC) – NET: 195, KenPom: 208– Ohio earned a split to start MAC play. They lost at Western Michigan 77-65, but beat Eastern Michigan 74-68 at home last night.

Butler Bulldogs (14-1, 2-0 Big East) – NET: 4, KenPom: 6 – Butler continues to play like a No. 1 seed because they are 8-1 against the first two quadrants with plenty of Big East opportunities ahead. Saturday they had a very business-like 71-57 win over Creighton, but they go to Providence, a wild up and down team, on Saturday.

Central Michigan Chippewas (9-6, 2-0 MAC) – NET: 202, KenPom: 195 – The Chippewas are now 2-0 in the MAC after beating Miami (OH) 93-82 and Northern Illinois 68-67. They have a tough game at Kent State on Saturday.