No. 1 Arizona (8-0) vs. No. 3 Purdue (9-1), Saturday, Dec. 16
No game this weekend or perhaps in the first two months of the season will have more No. 1 overall seed implications than Saturday’s tilt between No. 1 Arizona and No. 3 Purdue in Indianapolis. The undefeated Wildcats (8-0) already hold a road win over Duke and wins over Michigan State and Wisconsin. Purdue once held the No. 1 spot but a recent slip-up against Northwestern coupled with Arizona’s success has dropped them down to No. 4 in the NET. But the boilermakers have a very impressive resume in their own right with wins over Gonzaga, Tennessee, and Marquette to win the Maui Invitational.
The Wildcats are clearly the No. 1 team in the country right now with possibly the best win of any team in the country in their road win at Duke and a dominating 25-point win over Wisconsin in their last game. Yes, the Wildcats have three quad 4 wins but the strength of their other wins balances those out. After this game with the Boilermakers, the rest of their non-conference slate is no cakewalk. Tommy Lloyd has his team finishing up non-conference play with tilts against Alabama and Florida Atlantic.
The 9-1 Boilermakers haven’t been chopped liver either. Aside from their win in Maui, they have wins over Alabama, Xavier, and Iowa, the only thing lacking so far for the team with the No. 12 strength of schedule is a true road win. They gave up 92 points and suffered their only defeat in their only road contest to date. This is the non-conference game of the season and the winner of this one will and should be the No. 1 overall seed as we head into the new year.