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Non-Conference Opponents Update: December 16

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Purdue slides slightly, but only from “No. 1 overall seed” to “No. 1 seed.”

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at N.C. State Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

This update is a day late because Kyle busted ass yesterday with recruiting updates for signing day, but it is fine. Since it is finals week for many schools across the country there has not been a lot of action, but last weekend and this weekend are really good for premier non-conference games. From there it is a handful of bodybag games before conference season begins in earnest.

For Purdue, we have lost our first game of the season. It is technically a bad loss, too, since Rutgers’ overall profile is not great at 5-5. When you look at the profile as a whole Purdue is fine, and there is plenty of time to secure the No. 1 seed we currently have. One bad game is not going to derail the whole season, especially when Purdue still steals the game if not for a miracle 40 foot heave.

My largest concern is what it means for the conference race. Recent history shows that 16-4 is probably the mark we need to win the league. That was our mark in 2019 when we shared with Michigan State. That year we also lost one of the early December conference games as well, but not to a team as low down in the standings as Rutgers. Assuming Purdue goes 10-0 at home in league play (possible, maybe even expected) that is still 6-3 on the road with games at Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, and Wisconsin (and never consider automatic wins at Minnesota, Northwestern, and Penn State).

If Purdue goes 16-4 to win the Big Ten and finishes the non-conference season undefeated there is virtually no way it will be denied a No. 1 seed, mostly because the non-conference profile continues to be strong.

As always, just keep winning and things will be fine.

Purdue Boilermakers Profile

Record: 9-1, 1-1 Big Ten

NET: 7

KenPom: 4

Tier 1 Wins (KenPom) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1 75: 6 Villanova (Neutral), 29 Iowa (Home), 30 North Carolina (Neutral)

Tier 2 Wins (KenPom): Home 31-75 Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 40 Florida State (Home), 80 NC State (Neutral)

Tier 1 Wins (NET) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 9 Villanova (Neutral), 29 North Carolina (Neutral)

Tier 2: Home 31-75 (NET) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 31 Iowa (Home)

Bad Losses (Sub-100 NET or KenPom): Rutgers (163 NET, 101 KenPom)

Bellarmine Knights (5-7, 0-0 Atlantic Sun) – NET 274, KenPom 220– The Knights got their third and fourth wins of the season over non-1 competition by beating Asbury College and Midway by large margins. The victory over Midway did not turn the tide like for the US Navy in 1942, as they lost at South Dakota 78-64 last night.

Indiana State Sycamores (4-6, 0-1 Missouri Valley) – NET 156, KenPom 181 – The Trees have only played once since the last update, and it was a 77-70 loss at North Dakota State on Monday night. They host Alabama A&M this weekend.

Wright State Raiders (2-7, 1-1 Horizon League) – NET 305, KenPom 190– Wright State also only had one game since the last update. They hosted a decent Akron team and lost 66-48. It looks like it will be a very underwhelming season for the Raiders.

North Carolina Tar Heels (8-2, 1-0 ACC) – NET 29, KenPom 30 – The longer North Carolina stays in the top quartile of the ACC, the better. Their only two losses were in Uncasville to Purdue and Tennessee. This week they beat Elon 80-63 and Furman 74-61. They have a big one this weekend in the CBS Sports Classic against UCLA.

Villanova Wildcats (7-3, 0-0 Big East) – NET 9, KenPom 6 – The good news is that Villanova has played a ridiculously strong schedule and has strong computer numbers. They are projecting as a 2 or 3 seed, which is a very nice win to have in our back pocket. They are 0-3 though against teams currently in the top 4 after losing to Baylor 57-36 this past weekend. Overall they are fine. If they roll through the Big East starting this weekend they will be an excellent resume win on Selection Sunday.

Omaha Mavericks (1-10, 0-0 Summit League) – NET 350, KenPom 337 – The Mavericks have played three times since last week. They dropped home games to Drake 78-70 and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 87-73 before losing at UNLV 84-71. They start conference play on Monday, but they lack a win against a Division I team.

Florida State Seminoles (6-4, 0-1 ACC) – NET 78, KenPom 40 – The Seminoles missed a chance at a good neutral court win on Sunday when they fell to South Carolina 66-65. They bounced back with a huge win over Lipscomb last night 97-60. After a few more tune-up games they start back into ACC play on December 29.

North Carolina State Wolfpack - (7-3, 0-1 ACC) – NET 128, KenPom 80 – It wouldn’t have been a bad loss had Purdue not completed its comeback on Sunday, but it would have likely knocked Purdue off the top seed line. Since it was on a neutral floor it can likely evolve into a tier 1 win given the way ACC play will raise their profile. They have a neutral site game tomorrow against Richmond before hosting Wright State on Tuesday.

Butler Bulldogs – (7-3, 0-0 Big East) – NET 133, KenPom 86 – Butler got a home win over Eastern Illinois 66-54 this weekend before going into finals. We are all well aware of how they play Purdue tough in the Crossroads, and a win probably brings them into the NCAA discussion. They don’t really have a bad loss, but a strong run in the Big East would help us a lot.

Incarnate Word Cardinals – (2-8, 0-0 Southland) – NET 342, KenPom 353 – Incarnate Word won a Division I game! They hosted Grambling State on Saturday and won 72-62. They are at Rice tonight before coming to West Lafayette Monday night.

Nicholls Colonels – (7-4, 0-0 Southland) – NET 129, KenPom 209 – Nicholls beat Mississippi Valley State 95-80 on Thursday and Blue Mountain College 87-69 in a non-DI game Monday. What’s interesting is that they played at Wisconsin last night and gave the Badgers quite a game, losing 71-68 after a missing a tying three-pointer with 3 seconds left. That’s very interesting since Purdue plays both in consecutive games coming up.