It is a wonderful position to be playing for a seed as opposed to playing just to get into the tournament. The latest ESPN Bracketology, published before yesterday’s game, had Purdue as a 6 seed (VIRGINIA IN ROUND 2 NO!!!!), which is solidly in the field. Given the preseason uncertainties and the fact we’re playing five freshmen extensive minutes that is a wonderful spot to be in. A one point road loss in the final seconds to a top 50 team is not going to be damaging, either.
We’re to the point where avoiding a volume of losses is more important than who we lose to. With eight games left (and yes, Nebraska is going to attempt to reschedule our lost game) there are three (Nebraska x2, Northwestern) that would likely qualify as a “bad loss”. As long as Purdue gets those three it should be more than fine to get into the field. Beating Indiana and Michigan State at home when we have already beaten them on the road would be very beneficial as well. Given the remaining schedule it seems far more likely Purdue is playing to improve its seed. It would take an unexpected collapse (something like 2-6) to miss the field.
In terms of wins, Purdue’s two wins over Ohio State are among the best in the country for any team. The win over Indiana is still on tier 1 for now because it was away from home. Penn State is sitting at 35, so the home win over them is just outside the top tier, but Purdue’s nine wins against the top two tiers and 15 games against such teams are both among the nation’s best. Last night was a missed opportunity for a solid tier 1 win because Maryland is at 39 in the NET, thus they will easily stayed in the top 75 for a tier 1 road win.
As always, there are plenty of chances for more. Also, do not be surprised if the make-up game with Nebraska becomes a two-day doubleheader when we go to Lincoln in a few weeks.
Purdue Boilermakers Profile
Record: 12-7, 7-5 Big Ten
NET: 28 Up 2 from last week
KenPom: 24 Up 5 from last week.
Tier 2 Wins (KenPom): Home 31-75 Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 38 Penn State (Home), 40 Minnesota (Home), 41 Maryland (Home), 63 Notre Dame (Neutral)
Tier 1 Wins (NET) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75: 12 Ohio State (Home), 12 Ohio State (Away), 48 Indiana (Away)
Tier 2: Home 31-75 (NET) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 35 Penn State (Home), 39 Maryland (Home), 47 Minnesota (Home), 70 Notre Dame (neutral), 89 Liberty (Neutral), 92 Michigan State (Road)
Bad Losses (Sub-100 NET or KenPom): 151 NET Miami (Road) (Now on Tier 3), 117 KenPom
Liberty Flames (14-5, 6-2 Atlantic Sun) – KenPom: 107, NET: 89 – Liberty took a road trip to Jacksonville and got a pair of wins over the Dolphins 59-54 and 64-58. They are tied with North Alabama and Bellarmine at 6-2 in their league, and both of those teams are ineligible for the tourney since they are moving up to Division I.
Clemson Tigers (11-5, 5-5 ACC) – KenPom: 56, NET: 53 – Clemson had a productive week and they are quite thankful for their win over us now. Last Wednesday they beat Louisville 54-50, but lost at Duke over the weekend 79-53. They made up for that with a win over North Carolina 63-50 last night.
Oakland Golden Grizzlies (8-13, 8-6 Horizon League) – KenPom: 208, NET: 253– Oakland is on a bit of a hot streak. They swept two game from Purdue-Fort Wayne 81-66 and 82-75 to move to 8-6 in Horizon League play. That is good enough for third place behind Cleveland State and Wright State. They have won 5 of 6.
Valparaiso Crusaders (6-11, 3-5 Missouri Valley) – KenPom: 228, NET: 266 – Valpo picked up a double overtime 91-85 at Bradley last week, but dropped a pair of games at Evansville over the weekend 70-52 and 58-51. It gets no easier for them as they host undefeated Drake in the next two games.
Miami Hurricanes (7-10, 3-9 ACC) – KenPom: 117, NET: 151 – Miami dismissed starter Matt Cross from the program, putting them at a further disadvantage with a shorthanded roster. They lost at Florida State 81-59 and Wake Forest 66-54, but on Monday night upset Duke 77-75 in Coral Gables. Sure, it is not vintage Duke and it may have even moved the Blue Devils to the Bubble, but hey, they beat Duke.
Indiana State Sycamores (10-7, 7-5 Missouri Valley) – KenPom: 113, NET: 119 – Indiana State won two more games, sweeping Bradley 60-57 and 67-55 to run their win streak to six straight. They are now third in the MVC behind at large possibilities Loyola-Chicago and Drake.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-9, 4-6 ACC) – KenPom: 63, NET: 70 – Notre Dame had a three game week and won two of them, causing them to move up a lot in the NET rankings. If they rise 20 more spots it becomes a tier 1 win for Purdue. They lost to Virignia Tech 62-51, but beat Pittsburgh 84-58 and Wake Forest 79-58. They get Georgia Tech and Duke in their next two games.