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Non-Conference Opponents’ Update: January 13

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Liberty-biberty!

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Michigan State Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

We’re big Liberty fans here at Hammer & Rails. Well, not in the Biblical sense, but they do have a good basketball team, and that team is helping out Purdue. Purdue’s swing and a miss on its first two ACC opponents hurt and Notre Dame is struggling, but it is Liberty of the Atlantic Sun Conference that is carrying the banner as best non-conference win.

Purdue also now has a coveted true road win despite failing to reach 60 points in four of five road games. It is one that can be planted in the ground and grow as hopefully Michigan State rights its ship and gets back to playing at a Michigan State level (except when they come to Mackey).

Overall, Purdue is still in good shape. The magic number is now at 7 wins needed thanks to the miraculous Michigan State comeback. Tomorrow let’s reduce it to 6 and get another true road win.

Purdue Boilermakers Profile

Record: 8-5, 3-3 Big Ten

NET: 42 Up 6 from last week.

KenPom: 37 Up one from last week.

Tier 1 Wins (KenPom) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 16 Ohio State (Home), 43 Michigan State (Road),

Tier 2 Wins (KenPom): Home 31-75 Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 44 Maryland (Home), 88 Notre Dame (Neutral), 99 Liberty (Neutral)

Tier 1 Wins (NET) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 25 Ohio State (Home)

Tier 2: Home 31-75 (NET) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 38 Maryland (Home), 71 Liberty (Neutral), 85 Michigan State (Road)

Bad Losses (Sub-100 NET or KenPom): 123 NET Miami (Road)

Liberty Flames (11-4, 3-1 Atlantic Sun) – KenPom: 99, NET: 71 – The Flames got a sweep of Kennesaw State at home 69-63 and 76-47 over the weekend. They sit atop their conference tied with Lipscomb (with whom they split already) and Jacksonville (who they play January 29 and 30). They are the only team in the conference in the top 200 of the NET, so they should be able to roll after the Jacksonville games. If they go undefeated the rest of the way they may even have an at large case.

Clemson Tigers (9-1, 3-1 ACC) – KenPom: 17, NET: 15 – Clemson’s only game in the past week was at North Carolina and it was postponed.

Oakland Golden Grizzlies (3-12, 3-5 Horizon League) – KenPom: 277, NET: 299 – Oakland had a trip to play Linc Darner at Green Bay and it did not go well. The Golden Grizzlies lost 84-81 in overtime and 87-78. At least our walk-ons got to play against them.

Valparaiso Crusaders (3-5, 0-2 Missouri Valley) – KenPom: 186, NET: 256 – Valpo finally got off to a start in the Missouri Valley Conference and it did not go well. They were swept in their two-game set by first place Missouri State 81-68 and 78-68. Thank goodness we were able to come back in this one. I expected more from them when they pushed us in Mackey.

Miami Hurricanes (5-6, 1-5 ACC) – KenPom: 78, NET: 123 – The Hurricanes appeared to turn a corner with a nice 64-59 win at NC State, but there was another wall behind that corner as they lost to 3-9 Boston College 84-62 last night. This is a team still decimated by injuries. As all-ACC guard Chris Lykes is still out.

Indiana State Sycamores (4-7, 1-5 Missouri Valley) – KenPom: 152, NET: 140 – The Tree got a split in their two-game series with Loyola-Chicago at home. They won game one 76-71 but dropped a defensive slugfest 58-48 in game 2. This weekend they head to Illinois State.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-7, 0-4 ACC) – KenPom: 88, NET: 157 – The Irish would be struggling in a year where we finally beat them in the Crossroads. They had a game with Georgia Tech postponed last week and lost 77-63 at Virginia Tech. They head to Virginia tonight.