After what was an incredibly odd, yet exciting, last week of college basketball, there is bound to be a shake-up in the weekly AP Top 25 rankings. Even before that poll is released, Purdue is one of the teams affected most by the madness, according to ESPN analyst Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology projection.
Less than a week ago, Lunardi had Purdue as the No. 1 seed for the West Region of the NCAA Tournament bracket. But Lunardi dropped the Boilermakers to a No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region last Friday, and the analyst still has the Boilermakers in that slot for his Monday projection.
Purdue would face Montana in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, according to Lunardi.
When the NCAA Tournament selection committee chose its top-16 teams a week ago, Purdue was a No. 1 seed, despite having just lost at home to Ohio State and on the road to Michigan State — more on those two clubs later.
However, the Boilermakers didn’t bounce back well from those back-to-back losses, as they lost their third straight game on Thursday to Wisconsin on the road. Purdue got back to its winning ways by defeating Penn State, 76-73, at home on Sunday, but it sure wasn’t an easy win.
While Purdue is still a team to be reckoned with heading into the Big Ten Tournament, it’s clear why Lunardi dropped the Boilermakers out of a No. 1 seed.
Michigan State on the rise
Many felt that the Spartans were snubbed by the selection committee last week, as they were ranked as one of the four No. 3 seeds. However, things changed for Michigan State this week, as Lunardi has the team ranked as the No. 2 seed of the West Region, where it would face Wright State in the opening round.
After their impressive win over Purdue on Feb. 10, the Spartans took care of business last week. They defeated Minnesota, 87-57, on the road on Tuesday and followed that up with a 65-60 comeback win on the road at Northwestern on Saturday.
Michigan State’s wins, combined with struggles from Purdue and Ohio State, helped the team jump up a seeding in Lunardi’s projections. As recently as Friday, Lunardi had the Spartans as a No. 3 seed.
Ohio State hits a rough patch
It was a tough week for the Buckeyes, to say the least.
After Ohio State pulled out a 1-point road win over Purdue on Feb. 7, the Buckeyes proven that they were a force to be reckoned with. However, they came back to earth a little last week.
Following a blowout win over Iowa on Feb. 10, Ohio State dropped back-to-back road games to Penn State and Michigan, both of which were double-digit losses.
As recently as Feb. 15, Lunardi had Ohio State ranked as the No. 4 seed in the Midwest Region. After its loss to Penn State, Lunardi had Ohio State as the No. 4 seed in the South Region. After the loss to Michigan, he has Ohio State as the No. 4 seed in the East Region.
Despite the rough week for the Buckeyes, it did not result in a seeding change in Lunardi’s eyes. Considering Ohio State is overachieving and has three wins over top-50 RPI programs, it makes sense why Lunardi still has the team as a No. 4 seed.
Michigan hanging around
The only other Big Ten team in Lunardi’s projection is Michigan.
Last week, the Wolverines defeated Iowa and Ohio State at home. The win over the Buckeyes was big for the Wolverines, as Lunardi has them ranked as a No. 5 seed in the Midwest Region. Michigan was previously ranked a No. 7 seed before the win over its rival from Columbus.