Poll Dancing: Bye Week Musings
Beating two unranked teams in a week isn't anything to write home about...But winning a game on the road in the Big Ten is always enjoyable. As I said last week, Purdue had much to lose this week on the road v. Minny and at home versus Nebraska...but they held serve with a few key defensive plays in Minnesota's old barn, and then back home with Hambone playing like a national Player of the Year candidate. Hammons' effort earned him another B1G Player of the Week award. But this week was important- beating the teams you're supposed to beat matters...pollsters still remember the Illinois game.
The next three games will probably define Purdue's tournament seeding. Two highly-ranked teams and another good one on the road...all three are near the top of the conference. No shame in losing to any of these teams, but it's really a must that they win two out of three of these for this year's Boilers to start making a statement that they belong among the elite.
So the important question this week, especially since the Forces of Good don't play for the next five days is simple: What's their *BSCR??? They've moved up just a bit- 16.4.
Who you lost to and how they do after is clearly tugging downward on the composite ranking a bit. As Butler continues to struggle and Illinois flounders, those two losses hurt the way Purdue looks to computers, regardless of the small nudges forward our Boilers get in the human polls.
I loved the sentiment expressed in the comments of this very website earlier this week- none of us want to see our Boilers peak in February. We've seen Painter and Keady teams do that too many times. That said, nothing kills momentum in March like running into a top-15 team in the round of 32.
Who knows- with The Kid returning, Hammons hitting his stride, RayDay scoring again and chemistry coming along a bit, maybe this team is building toward the dance...
Time to flex some muscle, boys.
*BSCR is a composite ranking of the RPI, Sagarin, KenPom, Coaches and Media polls