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Non-Conference Opponents’ Update: February 16

Purdue has slipped a little, but is still in good shape.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Purdue’s profile took a small hit in the past week. A 24 point blowout loss will do that. Purdue clearly played its worst game of the season last Thursday, but in his Friday update Joe Lunardi still had Purdue on the one line. Then Sunday happened. Even though Purdue won, a lackluster effort against a sub-100 team at home did more damage than the Michigan loss. In a strange way, the Michigan loss actually boosted the profile briefly. The Wolverines won by so much they jumped to 30 in the NET for a short time, making Purdue’s home win over them a tier 1 win before they lost to Ohio State. The Boilers did not instill confidence with a second straight disappointing performance. They were very lucky to escape with the win over Maryland, but it was still a win.

We’re getting to crunch time now. An NCAA Tournament bid is now assured even if a disaster happens and Purdue drops its next five games plus Big Ten Tournament opener. We’re playing to secure a very high seed and a No. 1 is still on the table, especially with Kentucky losing last night. A win tonight and on Sunday against a suddenly red hot Rutgers team will erase last week’s ill will. Right now Purdue is a consensus 2 seed, but that can easily change.

The calculus remains simple. I am 100% confident that a Big Ten regular season title for Purdue will result in a No. 1 seed. With five games left all three road contests would be tier 1 victories, and the two home games would be on tier 2. Purdue needs just one Illinois loss to control its destiny, and the Illini have a four game stretch where at least one defeat seems likely. Should Purdue go 4-1 it would now need two Illinois losses (possible), plus a loss each for Wisconsin and Ohio State.

It’s one game at a time now. Just get Northwestern tonight.

Purdue Boilermakers Profile

Record: 22-4, 11-4 Big Ten

NET: 10 (Down 5 from last week)

KenPom: 11 (Down 6 from last week)

Tier 1 Wins (KenPom) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1 75: 8 Villanova (Neutral), 15 Illinois (Away), 15 Illinois (Home), 17 Ohio State (Home), 18 Iowa (Home), 18 Iowa (Away), 39 North Carolina (Neutral),

Tier 2 Wins (KenPom): Home 31-75 Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 38 Michigan (Home), 59 Northwestern (Home), 86 Penn State (Away)

Tier 1 Wins (NET) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1 75: 5 Villanova (Neutral), 13 Illinois (Away), 13 Illinois (Home), 17 Ohio State (Home), 19 Iowa (Home), 19 Iowa, (Away), 37 North Carolina (Neutral)

Tier 2: Home 31-75 (NET) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 36 Michigan (Home), 66 Northwestern (Home), 86 Penn State (Away), 103 Minnesota (Away)

Bad Losses (Sub-100 NET or KenPom): None

Bellarmine Knights (15-11, 9-3 Atlantic Sun) – NET 197, KenPom 189 – Bellarmine won two more games this week, both on the road. They beat North Florida 73-70 and North Alabama 75-69. They are now tied for first place in the Atlantic Sun with Jacksonville State and Liberty.

Indiana State Sycamores (11-15, 4-10 Missouri Valley) – NET 222, KenPom 215 – The Trees had another three game week and they actually won two of them. They beat Evansville 80-77 in double overtime and Illinois State 60-57, but lost to Missouri State 79-70.

Wright State Raiders (15-12, 12-6 Horizon League) – NET 218, KenPom 206– Two losses in a three game probably knocked Wright State out of the regular season title race in the Horizon League. They won at Green Bay 79-62, but lost to Milwaukee 60-57 and Northern Kentucky 75-71. They are now two games back in the league race.

North Carolina Tar Heels (18-7, 10-4 ACC) – NET 37, KenPom 39 – North Carolina is on the right side of the NCAA cut line after beating Florida State 94-74. They have now won 6 of 7 before hosting Pittsburgh tonight.

Villanova Wildcats (20-6, 13-3 Big East) – NET 5, KenPom 8 – The Wildcats picked up a huge win last night, winning 89-84 at a top 10 Providence team. This is in addition to a 73-67 weekend win over Seton Hall. They still have another game with Providence coming up that will probably decide the Big East race.

Omaha Mavericks (4-22, 3-12 Summit League) – NET 347, KenPom 344 – This week saw two more losses for the Mavericks. They lost 91-69 at home against South Dakota, then 82-61 at a South Dakota State team that is receiving votes in the AP Poll.

Florida State Seminoles (14-11, 7-8 ACC) – NET 97, KenPom 102 –Florida State finally stopped its freefall with an 81-80 win at home against Clemson last night, but this was after the above mentioned loss to North Carolina and a 56-51 home loss to Pittsburgh. This was an NCAA team before a six game losing streak.

North Carolina State Wolfpack - (11-16, 4-12 ACC) – NET 129, KenPom 122 – The Wolfpack also had a loss to Pittsburgh 71-69 and Wake Forest 69-51, but bounced back to beat Georgia Tech last night 76-61 on the road. They are near the bottom of the ACC standings in a bad year.

Butler Bulldogs – (13-13, 6-9 Big East) – NET 116, KenPom 127 – The Bulldogs have some signs of life and are creeping towards the top 100. They won a pair of big games within the past week, 85-79 over Marquette and 73-71 at DePaul. With a strong finish they could crack the top 100.

Incarnate Word Cardinals – (5-20, 2-10 Southland) – NET 348, KenPom 351 – In a third game against Nicholls Incarnate Word lost again 69-58. They also dropped an 84-57 game to first place New Orleans.

Nicholls Colonels – (16-9, 8-3 Southland) – NET 205, KenPom 224 – The Colonels are approaching first place. They got the above win over Incarnate Word plus an 83-80 overtime win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi. That leaves them a game behind New Orleans for first place.

Likely NCAA Teams: Villanova, North Carolina

NCAA Bubble: None

Possible Regular Season or Conference Tourney Champs: Bellarmine (cannot play in NCAA Tournament due to recent move-up from D-II), Villanova, Nicholls