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NBC Sports Top 25: Duke at No. 1, how high does Purdue climb?

Matt Haarms

Purdue center Matt Haarms (32) celebrates following a 70-55 win over Indiana in an NCAA college basketball game in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)


The most interesting conversation that we need to have this week is about Purdue and Michigan State.

The Boilermakers mollywhopped Michigan State on Sunday afternoon, jumping all over the Spartans, 55-32, despite the fact that Carsen Edwards once again decided that it was not necessary for him to show up against Tom Izzo’s team. Michigan State made a run -- because of course they did -- but Nojel Eastern made six straight free throws in the final four minutes to help put this game away.

So here’s the question that we need to answer: How good is Purdue?

On the surface, this win screams that the Boilermakers are truly as good as the metrics say they are. As of today, Purdue is 7th in KenPom’s rankings and 12th in NET, but there are also some situational factors that need to be discussed. Namely: This is the second time these two teams have played, this game was played at Mackey and it was Michigan State’s third game of the week, second straight game on the road and fourth roadie in their last five games. The Spartans were due for a dud.

This is very off-brand for me, I know, but I don’t think there’s a hot take to have here. If you think that Purdue is just a team that the metrics love because they’ve lost a bunch of close games and they caught Michigan State at the right time in the right building, I get it. If you think that this is proof that the Boilermakers are, in fact, a top ten team and a legit contender for the Big Ten title, then I get that, too.

Personally, I fall in the middle.

This win does prove that Purdue is better than I thought they were, and that head coach Matt Painter can game-plan a win as well as anyone in the league. I also think that this game was as lopsided as it was because Purdue got Michigan State at the right now.

So I have them slotted at 15 this week, right behind Iowa State and right in front of N.C. State.

Here is the rest of the top 25:

1. Duke (17-2, Last Week: 1)
2. Tennessee (18-1, 2)
3. Gonzaga (19-2, 3)
4. Virginia (18-1, 4)
5. Michigan (19-1, 6)
6. Michigan State (18-3, 5)
7. Kentucky (16-3, 7)
8. North Carolina (15-4, 13)
9. Virginia Tech (16-3, 8)
10. Marquette (18-3, 12)
11. Kansas (16-4, 9)
12. Nevada (19-1, 11)
13. Villanova (16-4, 20)
14. Iowa State (15-5, 24)
15. Purdue (14-6, 25)
16. N.C. State (16-4, 16)
17. Texas Tech (16-4, 10)
18. Mississippi State (15-4, 18)
19. Houston (19-1, 21)
20. LSU (16-3, 22)
21. Louisville (15-5, 23)
22. Buffalo (18-2, 19)
23. Wisconsin (14-6, NR)
24. Ole Miss (14-5, 15)
25. Auburn (13-6, 17)

New Additions: 23. Wisconsin
Dropped Out: 14. Maryland