I know it is only December, but it never too early to think March, especially when you have a Purdue team as promising as this one. I think it Is safe to say this is the most complete Purdue basketball team in a very long time. Even the Baby Boilers teams were kind of top heavy. At this point, Purdue is not only talented, it is incredibly deep. It has three players that have a legitimate case to be All-Americans, two experienced senior guards, one of the best freshmen in the country through seven games, a reserve forward that was a starter last year, a junior guard that has made the leap to “just hit the open threes, of which there will be many”, and a pair of sophomores that can play huge minutes.
This team can legitimately go 10 deep, and those 10 could be starters on a lot of teams in the country. It is significant when, during the broadcast last night, one of the broadcasters said, “It’s not like Trevion Williams got worse, but Zach Edey got a lot better”.
The sky is the limit. If Purdue wins at home against Iowa Friday night it will very likely be the No. 1 rated team in America. Winning the Big Ten and making it to April is the goal. Getting a No. 1 seed in March is a great way to get there. You can’t get there without a great profile. Being a Big Ten champion helps, but we have done that and not gotten a No. 1 seed (though we were a lock in 2010 before… well…). We topped out as a 2 seed in 2018 without winning the Big Ten, but haven’t had a No. 1 seed since 1996. While winning the Big Ten is a great way to get there, top tier non-conference wins are like gold. In our first look at our non-conference opponents to see how they are doing we can see Purdue already has three wins that will age like a fine wine over the next few months.
Purdue Boilermakers Profile
Record: 7-0, 0-0 Big Ten
Tier 1 Wins (KenPom) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 6 Villanova (Neutral), 49 North Carolina (Neutral)
Tier 2 Wins (KenPom): Home 31-75 Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 32 Florida State (Home),
Tier 1 Wins (NET) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 17 Villanova (Neutral), 25 Florida State (Home), 32 North Carolina (Neutral)
Tier 2: Home 31-75 (NET) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 71 Wright State (Home)
Bad Losses (Sub-100 NET or KenPom): None
Bellarmine Knights (2-6, 0-0 Atlantic Sun) – NET 181, KenPom 191 – Bellarmine won’t help by being an NCAA team since they are ineligible as a transitional D-I member, but they have played a strong schedule with Gonzaga, UCLA, and Purdue beating them. That’s worthy of some checks. They beat Central Michigan 76-69 for their only Division I win, and also beat Franklin College. Staying within 15 of UCLA was impressive.
Indiana State Sycamores (3-4, 0-0 Missouri Valley) – NET 120, KenPom 184 – The Trees will be in an interesting spot all year. They play in one of the better mid-major conferences, so they could potentially evolve into a top 100 win. Their only wins are over Green Bay, Hanover, and Old Dominion. They already have a conference game tonight at Loyola-Chicago, so it is a chance for themt o improve their own profile.
Wright State Raiders (1-5, 0-0 Horizon League) – NET 72, KenPom 159 – For some reason the NET loves Wright State even though they have lost five straight and have only beaten Lake Erie College. They went 0-3 in a tournament in Naples, Florida against George Washington, James Madison, and Long Beach State, all by single digits. This is still likely the favorite in the Horizon League, making them a potential 14-16 seed down the line.
North Carolina Tar Heels (4-2, 0-0 ACC) – NET 32, KenPom 49 – There will always be name recognition from beating NORTH CAROLINA, but at some point the Tar Heels have to do their part. They went 0-2 in the Hall of Fame Tournament, but they host Michigan tonight for a shot at their first high major win. That is a game to keep an eye on to see how Purdue matches up with the Wolverines later.
Villanova Wildcats (4-2, 0-0 Big East) – NET 17, KenPom 6 – Villanova’s only losses were to Purdue and UCLA. Since North Carolina and Bellarmine also play UCLA, we get a small added “opponents’ opponents” boost. They are currently in their run of Philadelphia Big 5 opponents, and they have a really good win over Tennessee. This is a team that will be in the top 10 for much of the season barring a major screwup, so this is a huge victory.
Omaha Mavericks (1-6, 0-0 Summit League) – NET 324, KenPom 334 – Their only win is over Hastings College and they have taken beatings all over the country at Kansas State, Montana, Texas Tech, and Purdue. They are probably one of the worst Division I teams in the country.
Florida State Seminoles (5-2, 0-0 ACC) – NET 25, KenPom 32 – I was very impressed with Florida State last night. They are a very athletic team that, at full strength, would have given Purdue fits. What’s more impressive is that they were playing their asses off on defense and Purdue just hit the gas to blow them away. They have the look of a potential Sweet 16 team, so it will be interesting to see where they finish in the ACC.
North Carolina State Wolfpack - (5-1, 0-0 ACC) – NET 73, KenPom 61 – The Wolfpack will be a good neutral court challenge next week in Brooklyn. They also played in a tournament at the Mohegan Sun and beat Central Connecticut State before losing to Oklahoma State by 6. They host Nebraska tonight in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Regardless of what happens, getting a third ACC win would be huge for Purdue.
Butler Bulldogs – (5-3, 0-0 Big East) – NET 122, KenPom 88 – Butler did not have a good Maui Invitational, as they had the dreaded “only beat Chaminade” trip. They also have a second non-D1 win over Saginaw Valley State. They’ve struggled against high level teams, losing to Michigan State, Houston, and Texas A&M. So far they have looked like a mid- to low-level Big East team.
Incarnate Word Cardinals – (0-7, 0-0 Southland) – NET 330, KenPom 354 – Well, at least Carson Cunningham and Ryne Smith get to come home and collect a check. This game is probably going to be very ugly. Incarnate Word lost to non-D1 Concordia-Texas and went 0-3 in their own 8-team tournament. The toughest team they have played is a 27-point loss to defending champion Baylor.
Nicholls Colonels – (5-3, 0-0 Southland) – NET 180, KenPom 230 – Nicholls has also played Baylor and lost by 29, but they have not one, but two wins over Carver Bible College. This is very likely one last tune-up before getting into the heart of Big Ten play.