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Non-Conference Opponents’ Update: January 6

There is still work to do, but overall Purdue is fine so far.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Illinois Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of interesting things have happened since the last update here. We had our first NET rankings released and it was generally good news for Purdue. We also suffered a pair of road losses that were far from damaging. With 15 games left I still believe that Purdue needs to go, at minimum, 8-7 to feel marginally safe on Selection Sunday. This doesn’t account or any Big Ten Tournament results in our favor. When the NET rankings were released 12 of the 14 teams in the conference were in the top 60. A 13th, Michigan State, was shockingly low as they are currently at 109, but that won’t stay that way for long.

The bottom line is that there is more than enough schedule strength there that eight more wins will be enough, especially as long as two of them are against Nebraska to avoid the dreaded “bad loss”. Assuming Michigan State’s profile rises the Cornhuskers will be the only team that can present a bad loss. As long as Purdue fixes a few things and wins a few games it will be fine.

Purdue Boilermakers Profile

Record: 7-5, 2-3 Big Ten

NET: 48

KenPom: 38

Tier 1 Wins (KenPom) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 20 Ohio State (home)

Tier 2 Wins (KenPom): Home 31-75 Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 47 Maryland (Home), 90 Notre Dame (Neutral)

Tier 1 Wins (NET) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: None

Tier 2: Home 31-75 (NET) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 36 Maryland (Home), 37 Ohio State (Home), 72 Liberty (Neutral)

Bad Losses (Sub-100 NET or KenPom): 138 NET Miami (Road)

Liberty Flames (9-4, 1-1 Atlantic Sun) – KenPom: 103, NET: 72 – Liberty can be a sneaky good win if they go on a run in the Atlantic Sun. That conference is playing two-game series due to COVID to limit travel and they started with a pair of games they spit at Lipscomb, losing 77-70, but winning 66-50 the next day. Liberty has the highest NET rating in their conference by a wide margin, so they are the favorite. They need to roll the conference and hopefully get into the top 50 so it is a tier 1 win for us.

Clemson Tigers (9-1, 3-1 ACC) – KenPom: 17, NET: 15 – Purdue will be rewarded for a game like this even if it is a loss as it will portray a strong non-conference schedule. The Tigers got a really good ACC win over Florida State 77-67, then won by a point at Miami on Saturday 66-65. Last night they beat NC State in overtime 74-70. They get North Carolina next.

Oakland Golden Grizzlies (3-10, 3-3 Horizon League) – KenPom: 272, NET: 279 – Like the Atlantic Sun, the Horizon League is doing two-game series. Oakland swept nearby rivals Detroit 77-75 (OT) and 83-80. They then split with Wright State, losing 90-51 before winning 81-71 a day later. That ended up being a good win as Wright State is 77 in the NET and is now 7-2 overall.

Valparaiso Crusaders (3-5, 0-0 Missouri Valley) – KenPom: 172, NET: 230 – Postponements have crippled Valpo, as they have had four straight games postponed and have not played since December 19th. They alleged play a two-game series against Missouri State this weekend at home.

Miami Hurricanes (4-5, 0-4 ACC) – KenPom: 68, NET: 138 – Miami needs to be at full strength, as all-ACC guard Chris Lykes is still out. It has been costly. They have now suffered three straight losses by 5 points total. They fell at Virginia Tech 80-78, lost to Clemson 66-65, and last night lost to North Carolina 67-65 on a basket with 4 seconds left. With Lykes this is probably a tournament team at 8-1 right now since they also have the 66-62 loss to FGCU. Damn, we should have won this game.

Indiana State Sycamores (3-6, 0-4 Missouri Valley) – KenPom: 162, NET: 168 – So much for help from the Trees. They have been swept in both of their MVC series so far, 81-63 and 73-66 by Drake and 84-74 and 70-66 by Missouri State. Granted, Drake is 11-0 and Missouri State is 6-1, but it still sucks we can’t get more out of this.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-6, 0-3 ACC) – KenPom: 90, NET: 166 – Notre Dame got a tune-up noon-conference win over Division I newcomer Bellarmine 81-70, but lost to Virginia 66-57 and North Carolina 66-65 since the last update. Tonight’s game against Georgia Tech is postponed.