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College Basketball Rankings January 24: Purdue Drops Slightly

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Purdue remains in the top 10.

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

So goes the burdens of expectations.

By almost every conceivable metric Purdue is having a fantastic season. It is sitting at 16-3 in late January with a top 10 ranking according to both the polls and the computer metrics. It just got an excellent true road win, it has three very good non-conference wins, and the overall profile has them on the Final Four hopefuls short list. Purdue still went 2-1 in three tough games last week, winning on the road at a previous undefeated-in-conference Illinois and beating a feisty Northwestern team by 20 without our best player.

Unfortunately, Purdue has two losses now where it held the lead with less than 20 seconds left, essentially losing twice on buzzer-beaters. One of those really stings, as it made IU fans think they are good again by ending a nine-game winning streak over the Hoosiers. Since all three losses are in conference play the initial goal of winning the Big Ten now relies on an extended run through a minefield of tough games, where 10-2 in the last twelve is the likely bare minimum needed. Plus, no Big Ten title probably erases a No. 1 seed, and thus an easier path in March. Basically, the two road losses have cost Purdue a No. 1 seed as of right now.

Finally, there is the eye test. Purdue hasn’t looked like it is playing to its maximum level for some time now. Purdue at its best easily wins at Rutgers and Indiana. Against Wisconsin the Badgers out-toughed Purdue and had the best player on the floor, leading to a stunning loss in Mackey (where all losses just feel shocking). In all three losses we have seen a dynamic guard have a career night. That does not bode well for March. Right now Purdue is a top 10 team, but it feels real shaky, as they haven't played to their maximum ability since the Florida State game.

There is still time though. Purdue is in a very good place when the overall profile is seen. It is more than capable of beating every remaining team on the schedule, and that would also include avenging all three losses (a near necessity if it wants to win the Big Ten). It won’t be easy, it never is, but when he current jumping off point is still in the top 10 nationally it is a great place to start.

Here are this week’s rankings:

  1. Auburn (45) 1,504
  2. Gonzaga (15) 1,475
  3. Arizona (1) 1,381
  4. Baylor 1,335
  5. Kansas 1,281
  6. Purdue 1,119
  7. UCLA 1,116
  8. Houston 1,116
  9. Duke 1,017
  10. Michigan State 979
  11. Wisconsin 894
  12. Kentucky 822
  13. Texas Tech 766
  14. Villanova 713
  15. USC 711
  16. Ohio State 584
  17. Providence 542
  18. Tennessee 419
  19. LSU 399
  20. UConn 284
  21. Xavier 269
  22. Marquette 177
  23. Iowa State 167
  24. Illinois 155
  25. Davidson 132

Others receiving votes:

BYU 120, Alabama 77, Texas 61, Colorado State 57, Florida State 50, Loyola Chicago 21, Oregon 19, Wake Forest 12, Murray State 10, Indiana 10, Iowa 8, TCU 6, Miami (FL) 4, Saint Mary’s 3, Boise State 3, Florida 3, Wyoming 2, Seton Hall 1, Iona 1

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