March 3, 2024
College basketball rankings: No. 1 Purdue pulling away from pack in Top 25 And 1

Purdue extended its winning streak to eight games Sunday afternoon with a 77-61 victory over Michigan State. That means the Boilermakers are now 21-1 overall and 10-1 in the Big Ten, where they have at least a four-game lead in the win column, and at least a two-game lead in the loss column, over everybody else in the conference. They remain No. 1 in Monday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings.

Simply put, unless there’s some Associated Press Top 25 voter out there who values something more this deep into a season than he or she values a team’s body of work, Matt Painter’s program should be the unanimous No. 1 when the AP poll updates later Monday.

As always, we’ll see.

But, at this point, there’s really no intelligent argument for anybody other than Purdue being No. 1 considering Purdue is 7-1 in Quadrant 1 with wins over Gonzaga, Marquette and Duke — and a lone loss to Rutgers by a single point. Kansas is the only school with more Quadrant-1 wins than Purdue — but the Jayhawks have four losses on their resume, among them a 23-point loss at home to TCU. Again, Purdue has just one loss, which makes Purdue the only team in the country with at least seven Quadrant-1 wins and only one defeat. In fact, Purdue is the only team in the country with at least three Quadrant-1 wins and only one defeat.

Zach Edey was the star again Sunday.

The 7-foot-4 center took 24 shots, made 15 of them and finished with 38 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, three steals and one block in 32 minutes. He’s now averaging 22.1 points and 13.0 rebounds per game. Those numbers rank first and second, respectively, among all power-conference players, which is among the reasons Edey is the far-and-away leader to win the CBS Sports National Player of the Year award that’s handed out just before the Final Four.

“[Edey is] real special, and it’s something you don’t take for granted because you’re not going to have [a teammate] like that every single year,” said Purdue freshman Fletcher Loyer. “When you got someone down low who is that dominant, and that unselfish too, it’s great to play with. I feel bad for the other teams because it’s hard to stop him.”

The Boilermakers’ 21-1 record represents the best start by a Big Ten school since Ohio State opened the 2010-11 season on a 24-game winning streak. Purdue will take an eight-game winning streak into Wednesday’s game with Penn State inside Mackey Arena, 

Bottom line, from a body-of-work perspective, Purdue really is in a group by itself. As I wrote in Sunday morning’s Top 25 And 1, we’ve reached the point where the Boilermakers could take a second loss and still be projected as the No. 1 overall seed for the 2023 NCAA Tournament.