The good news is that in the eyes of many Purdue is back on the 1 seed line! BracketMatrix, which collects over 100 proposed brackets across the Internet, has Purdue as the consensus No. 4 overall seed, joining Baylor, Auburn, and Gonzaga on the top line with an average seed of 1.53 across 108 brackets. That is slightly ahead of Kansas for the fourth No. 1 seed. Joe Kunardi at ESPN moved Purdue onto the 1 line this week, but in the East (Philadelphia) region. It is not the cushy Indianapolis to Chicago path we would all like, but if Purdue falls to a 2 or even a 3 seed it will very likely play the first two games just down the road from campus at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
The work from last week is important too. Purdue added two tier 1 wins to its resume, though if Iowa keeps losing to the likes of Penn State and Rutgers they will fall out of the top 30 and damage our home win over them. Auburn, Baylor, Wisconsin, and Kansas are the only teams in the country with more tier 1 wins (they each have 7). Alabama, Marquette, and Iowa State also have six.
That can fluctuate, as well. Iowa is holding at 24 right now, but if they fall out of the top 30 that moves the home win down a level. Northwestern is at 78 currently, so the potential road win over the Wildcats could move up to tier 1 if they get and stay above 75 (that would also make the home win tier 2). For now the worst loss, at Rutgers, is holding on tier 2 since it was on the road.
Much like the Big Ten, a No. 1 seed is Purdue’s to lose. With 10 games left both will probably take an 8-2 finish at minimum. If you’re looking for a rooting interest in tonight’s Wisconsin-Illinois game I would pick Illinois since I like our chances at home against the Illini vs. our chances in Madison. There are a lot of other games that can have an effect though, as last night’s narrow escape by Michigan State at Maryland showed.
Oh, and a win tonight at Minnesota (87 NET, 92 KenPom) would be solidly tier 2.
Purdue Boilermakers Profile
Record: 18-3, 7-3 Big Ten
NET: 8 (The same as last week)
KenPom: 8 (down 2 from last week)
Tier 2 Wins (KenPom): Home 31-75 Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 72 Northwestern (Home), 81 Penn State (Away)
Tier 1 Wins (NET) Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1 75: 5 Villanova (Neutral), 14 Illinois (Away), 19 Ohio State (Home), 24 Iowa (Home), 24 Iowa, (Away), 35 North Carolina (Neutral)
Tier 2: Home 31-75 (NET) Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135: 88 Penn State (Away)
Bad Losses (Sub-100 NET or KenPom): None (Rutgers has climbed high enough to be a tier 2 loss now on NET at 112 and KenPom at 103)
Bellarmine Knights (13-9, 7-1 Atlantic Sun) – NET 169, KenPom 160 – Bellarmine had a 50 spot jump in the KenPom this week with two wins. They beat Stetson 72-47 and FGCU 74-63, both on the road. They trail Jacksonville State by a game in the conference standings, their only loss in league play. It is not much, but Bellarmine is very close to moving onto tier 3. To give you an idea of what that means, they are comfortably ahead of Nebraska right now. They would likely be on the level of any 15 or 16 seed we would play.
Indiana State Sycamores (9-11, 2-6 Missouri Valley) – NET 187, KenPom 176 – A 67-52 loss at Bradley was their only game in the past week. They are currently in 9th place in the MVC, ahead of only Evansville.
Wright State Raiders (12-10, 9-4 Horizon League) – NET 238, KenPom 225– The Raiders earned a split this past week. They dropped a close one to Cleveland State 71-67, but beat Purdue-Fort Wayne 75-63, both at home. They continue to sit in third place in their league behind Cleveland State and Oakland.
North Carolina Tar Heels (16-6, 8-3 ACC) – NET 35, KenPom 34 – The Tarheels have played three games since the last update and they won all three, solidifying them as a solid tier 1 neutral court win. They beat Boston College 58-47, NC State 100-80, and topped Louisville in overtime on the road last night 90-83. Duke is up next in Chapel Hill on Saturday. Think of this win as a round of 32 level win right now.
Villanova Wildcats (16-5, 9-2 Big East) – NET 5, KenPom 7 – The Wildcats have won nine of their last ten and are playing like a top 3 seed, making our win over them an Elite 8 level game. They beat St. John’s 73-62 over the weekend and host Marquette tonight.
Omaha Mavericks (4-18, 3-8 Summit League) – NET 344, KenPom 340 – The Mavericks continue to be mired at the bottom of Division I, but they did get a split this past week. They lost to last year’s Sweet 16 darling Oral Roberts 100-88, but beat UMKC 69-68.
Florida State Seminoles (13-7, 6-4 ACC) – NET 79, KenPom 78 –After playing their way onto the Bubble the Seminoles fell right off it with two losses, and they were ugly. They lost 75-61 at Georgia Tech and 85-72 at home to Virginia Tech. They are not even a tier 2 win right now, so they have work to do starting tonight at Clemson.
North Carolina State Wolfpack - (10-12, 3-8 ACC) – NET 123, KenPom 109 – NC State was threatening the top 100 and tier 2 status before losing to North Carolina as mentioned above and Notre Dame 73-65. This is just not a good team and Purdue really dodged a bullet with their furious comeback in Brooklyn. Tonight they host Syracuse.
Butler Bulldogs – (11-10, 4-6 Big East) – NET 132, KenPom 137 – The Bulldogs have played some good basketball in the past week. Can they stay hot to move into the top 100? They beat Creighton 72-55 and Georgetown 56-53 to move over .500. They are at Xavier tonight.
Incarnate Word Cardinals – (4-17, 1-7 Southland) – NET 351, KenPom 352 – Incarnate Word has just one D-I win all season, and this week brought two more losses. They lost at Northwestern State 79-70 and Southeastern Louisiana 78-68.
Nicholls Colonels – (13-9, 5-3 Southland) – NET 198, KenPom 217 – Nicholls is still a threat to win the autobid after two wins this week. They won at McNeese State 81-71 and Houston Baptist 73-61. Their next two games are against Incarnate Word, and they continue to be the highest rated NET team in their league.
Likely NCAA Teams: Villanova, North Carolina
NCAA Bubble: Florida State
Possible Regular Season or Conference Tourney Champs: Bellarmine (cannot play in NCAA Tournament due to recent move-up from D-II), Wright State, Nicholls