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Non-Conference Opponents Update: December 8

If the season ended today, Purdue would be an NCAA Tournament team.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Purdue Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

It is early December and Purdue is in the best possible spot regarding the NCAA Tournament. Joe Lunardi not only has us as a No. 1 seed, but the No. 1 overall seed. That is not a guarantee of a title (see: 2018 Virginia), but you cannot ask for better and it allegedly the most favored path with the lowest 2 seed waiting in the regional final and lowest 4 seed in the regional semis. Purdue is also No. 1 in the AP Poll for the first time ever, No. 1 in the coaches poll for the first time ever, and No. 1 in the initial NET rankings. Only the cold, statistical analysis of KenPom needs to get on board, as it still has Gonzaga at No. 1 despite being 7-2. The Zags are slightly more efficient than Purdue, but the margin is small.

Championships are not won in December, and if Purdue is not still playing in April this is all completely meaningless.

So far, Purdue has built a tremendous resume with it’s on the court work. We’ve only played once since this last update, but holding on for a solid conference win over Iowa helped even more. Too bad the Hawkeyes lost at home to Illinois earlier this week. Purdue has four remaining non-conference games and should be a big favorite in all four of them. Getting that 11-0 mark out of league play gives us yet another leg up on a No. 1 seed.

As it is looking right now, getting those remaining four, plus a Big Ten regular season title, makes us a virtual lock for a 1 seed.

Purdue Boilermakers Profile

Record: 8-0, 1-0 Big Ten

NET: 1

KenPom: 2

Tier 1 Wins (KenPom) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1 75: 6 Villanova (Neutral), 21 Iowa (Home), 28 North Carolina (Neutral)

Tier 2 Wins (KenPom): Home 31-75 Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 37 Florida State (Home),

Tier 1 Wins (NET) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 5 Villanova (Neutral), 20 Iowa (Home), 24 North Carolina (Neutral)

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

Bad Losses (Sub-100 NET or KenPom): LOL

Bellarmine Knights (3-6, 0-0 Atlantic Sun) – NET 252, KenPom 202– Bellarmine has only played once since the last update, but it was a dominant 92-43 win over non-D1 Defiance. All told, they have four non-D1 games on their schedule.

Indiana State Sycamores (4-5, 0-1 Missouri Valley) – NET 156, KenPom 181 – Indiana State dropped its MVC opener on the road at Loyola-Chicago 88-76, but rebounded to get a nice home win over Miami (OH) by a point Saturday 69-68 on a last second basket from Cooper Neese.

Wright State Raiders (2-6, 1-1 Horizon League) – NET 294, KenPom 160– The Raiders finally won a Division I game, beating Purdue-Fort Wayne 86-73 in their Horizon League opener. They could not sustain the momentum, as they dropped a road game at Cleveland State 85-75.

North Carolina Tar Heels (6-2, 1-0 ACC) – NET 24, KenPom 28 – The Tar Heels have done well since dropping both games at the Mohegan Sun, and will be a threat to be a top 25 win all year long. Think of them as a Second Round or Sweet 16 level opponent. They easily handled a floundering Michigan 72-51 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge before opening ACC play with a 79-62 win at Georgia Tech.

Villanova Wildcats (7-2, 0-0 Big East) – NET 5, KenPom 6 – Purdue’s win over the Wildcats was basically an Elite 8 level game. They are a projected 2 seed right now, and since that was on a neutral floor with a good crowd, it is a preview of coming attractions. This week they took firm control of the Philly Big 5 with wins over Penn (71-56) and St. Joseph’s (81-52) before beating Syracuse last night in New York 67-53. Sunday they play #2 Baylor in a very big game.

Omaha Mavericks (1-7, 0-0 Summit League) – NET 353, KenPom 334 – Only one game for Omaha, but it was a 92-81 loss at home to Eastern Washington. Tonight they host Drake, and they would likely have a much better chance at the singer. Maybe not though. Omaha is very bad.

Florida State Seminoles (5-3, 0-1 ACC) – NET 77, KenPom 37 – After Purdue ran the Seminoles off the floor last week they lost a close ACC openera t home to Syracuse 63-60. That’s okay though. Per the Indy Star, losing a close game to Syracuse is basically the same as beating Duke in Cameron, Purdue in Mackey, and Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse all in the same night.

North Carolina State Wolfpack - (6-2, 0-1 ACC) – NET 130, KenPom 73 – With North Carolina, Villanova, and Florida State all likely tournament teams I would really like NC State to get there too. They held off Nebrasketball 104-100 in FOUR overtimes in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, but opened ACC play with a 73-68 home loss to Louisville. Sunday’s game is probably Purdue’s last major non-conference test.

Butler Bulldogs – (6-3, 0-0 Big East) – NET 121, KenPom 78 – Well, well, well, look at Butler! The Bulldogs have struggled most of the season, but last night got a really good 66-62 overtime win at Oklahoma. Are they a tournament team? They could have used another win in the Maui Invite (they only beat Chaminade), but their three losses to Michigan State, Houston, and Texas A&M are not horrific. They should be 7-3 before facing Purdue with an easy game this weekend against Eastern Illinois.

Incarnate Word Cardinals – (1-8, 0-0 Southland) – NET 330, KenPom 355 – Purdue will be able to name its score in this one. The Cardinals got their first win of the year over Our Lady of the Lake (who had better have a really good water polo team) 93-66, but lost to Abilene Christian 98-65 on Saturday. This is a team that rates lower than Omaha. At least Carson Cunningham gets to come home.

Nicholls Colonels – (5-3, 0-0 Southland) – NET 166, KenPom 232 – Nicholls has not played since the last update. They head to Mississippi Valley State tomorrow night, and the Delta Devils are the worst team in Division I according to KenPom.