There are only 10 unbeaten teams left in the NCAA, and two of them are in the Big Ten: Michigan State and Purdue. The Spartans might actually have a better shot to go undefeated at this point, but this article is about the Boilermakers, so let's focus on them. Purdue has beaten every team they've played by at least 12 points and has been able to do it on nights that they are missing guys (like senior and B1G DPOY Rapheal Davis), nights when their shooting is off (37.1% FG and 14.3% 3PT against New Mexico), and in one of the toughest environments in the country (at Pittsburgh). This is an elite rebounding team and they may just be the best defensive team in the country (even with Davis missing 4 games and Hammons missing 2).
Seth Davis wrote a column earlier this week where he predicted which was the first game in which each undefeated school would lose. Here, I've decided to do you one better and give you what percent chance Purdue has to win every game for the rest of this year. This is based solely on my own analysis and prediction, so do with that information what you will.
Youngstown State Penguins = 95% chance to win
The Penguins are currently 254 in the KenPom rankings and lost at home to American last weekend. Purdue should walk over Youngstown, but there is always a chance everything falls apart on any given night.
Butler Bulldogs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse = 55%
Butler is a very good team, and Purdue has a history of losing in the Crossroads Classic, in fact they are 0-4. Additionally, Butler has only lost one game to a hot-shooting Miami team. However, Butler does not have the size to match-up with Isaac Haas and A.J. Hammons. Therefore, Purdue gets a slight edge, but it should be a dog fight (no pun intended).
Vanderbilt Commodores = 70%
Vanderbilt has lost 7-footer Luke Kornet for at least the rest of the month, and unfortunately that makes this game a lot less intriguing. The 'Dores still have their other 7-footer Damian Jones, and guards Riley LaChance and Wade Baldwin IV. Gene Keady disciple Kevin Stallings actually played on Purdue's 1980 Final Four team, so he should have his guys ready to play in Mackey. However, the Kornet injury tips the scales in favor of the Boilers against a team that has been a bit disappointing to start the season.
At Wisconsin Badgers = 70%
The Badgers have been terribly inconsistent this season and the Kohl Center has already seen two losses this season. I think this Wisconsin team will figure themselves out eventually, but not by the time the Boilers come in on December 29th.
Iowa Hawkeyes = 75%
Iowa is a solid team, but their recent history at Mackey is not great. Add in the fact that they've had trouble closing the deal a few times already this season (including last night) and you get a game that should go Purdue's way.
Michigan Wolverines = 85%
Another home game, and the match-ups heavily favor Purdue. Michigan has looked very soft inside and had been downright bad on the boards. The Boilers on the other hand are dominating opponents on the boards and if they have a good day shooting the ball, this one could be a blowout.
At Illinois Fighting Illini = 75%
Oh Illinois, I really am not sure just how good this Illini team is, between injuries and playing in Springfield to start the year it is hard to gauge their true potential. The Orange Krush is intimidating, but this is a student-break game and there is no telling what the crowd make-up will be (except that I will be there). Purdue should take this one, but the State Farm Center has seen its share of inexplicable upsets.
Penn State Nittany Lions = 90%
Penn State is what they always are, a bad team with a really good guard or two (although Brandon Taylor is listed as a forward). I don't see Taylor and Shep Garner doing enough to win in Mackey, or most other Big Ten gyms for that matter.
At Rutgers Scarlet Knights = 90%
Rutgers is still Rutgers, even at The RAC.
Ohio State Buckeyes = 80%
This is a home game against a Buckeye team that will hopefully have it a bit more together by January 21st. However, even if they figure themselves out by the time they get to West Lafayette, I still don't like their chances.
At Iowa Hawkeyes = 65%
Iowa City is not an easy place to play, and this is the game Seth Davis thinks Purdue loses for the first time. I can definitely see Purdue coming out a little sloppy after a stretch of relatively easy games. I think the key player in this game is going to be Adam Woodbury. Jarrod Uthoff is going to play well in this game, I will guarantee that. What it will come down to is whether or not Woodbury can defend in the post without fouling.
At Minnesota Golden Gophers = 70%
The Barn is not a good place to be a Boilermaker. Bad losses and a freak injury to Robbie Hummel haunt fans' minds every time the Boilers head west to Minneapolis. So, if Matt Painter's team were to lose a game they shouldn't this year, this would be a good pick. Outside of bad juju though, this team is much better than the Golden Gophers at pretty much every position right now.
Nebraska Cornhuskers = 85%
I like Nebrasketball and there chances to win some Big Ten games this year, I really do, but they have problems scoring against good defenses. And there is no way that problem gets any better during a visit to West Lafayette.
At Maryland Terrapins = 35%
Maryland has one of the best home court advantages in the Big Ten, and Purdue has literally never played an away game against the Terps. Oddly, at 0-1, Purdue's record against Maryland is the only losing record they have against a Big Ten school, with the exception of OSU (83-84 or 84-89, depending on which school you ask). Maryland matches up with Purdue's talent in the frontcourt about as well as anyone, the Terps are a bit smaller, but more athletic.
Michigan State Spartans = 55%
Michigan State is the #1 team in the country right now, but that doesn't mean they will be favored going into Mackey. However, the scheduling gods didn't do the Boilermakers any favors by putting this one three days after a trip to College Park. I'd give Purdue a better chance if this game were after a week of rest, but chasing Melo Trimble around right before having to go against triple-double threat Denzel Valentine is not going to be easy. The big boost for Purdue will be the crowd though. When Mackey Arena is rocking, like it will be for this one, there really is nothing like it and no way to truly prepare for it as a visiting team.
At Michigan Wolverines = 70%
I must reiterate, this is a bad match-up for UM. They will have a chance though, because Purdue will be on the road after playing in what may be the most important game of the year. The MSU game will have certainly been a physical one, so Michigan's quickness and shooting may be enough to sneak them past a worn-out Boilers squad.
Northwestern Wildcats = 75%
The Wildcats are a solid group and have a decent shot to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in their history. Unfortunately, they just don't seem to have the talent to knock off a top team at home. Bryant McIntosh and Alex Olah are very good, but I just can't see the Wildcats competing with the depth of talent that Purdue brings.
At Indiana Hoosiers = 65%
Guess what? This paragraph is going to talk a lot about defense, shocking, I know. Assembly Hall comes with a huge home-court advantage, but that can only go so far. If IU can muster up a strong defensive effort, they could take this game. However, their offense will have to get past the Purdue defense too. Last season, an IU team that put up 89 on Maryland at Assembly Hall, could only muster 63 against Purdue. Oh, and right now it appears Indiana has regressed since last season, while Purdue has taken a leap forward.
Maryland Terrapins = 60%
Maryland came into Mackey for the first time ever last season and simply out-toughed Purdue. Can they do it again? This time, Purdue will have a whole week to prepare for the Terps and unlike last year's match-up that took place during winter break, this game will feature a full-strength Paint Crew and an atmosphere worthy of a late season game between title contenders.
At Nebraska Cornhuskers = 75%
The Huskers have been pretty good at home, but again this is a team that can really struggle on offense, and Purdue's defense is smothering.
Wisconsin Badgers = 65%
This could be a huge game by the end of the year. Wisconsin has shown flashes of brilliance, and you know Bo Ryan will fix the consistency eventually. This match-up could be a deciding factor in the Big Ten championship. I don't see Wisconsin being in the running, but Purdue should be and a loss here is very possible.