Busting Brackets

5 teams most on upset alert during 2024 Champ Week

These teams have established themselves as some of the top teams in their conference throughout the regular season and are locks for the NCAA Tournament, but could be susceptible in the win-or-go-home conference tournaments this week.

Purdue v Michigan
Purdue v Michigan / Mike Mulholland/GettyImages
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. Seed: 1. . 2. . 492. Purdue. . 28-3 (17-3).

The Purdue Boilermakers won’t be taking any team lightly this March, not after last season’s first-round debacle against Farleigh Dickinson in the NCAA Tournament. Matt Painter has been tabbed as a coach who can’t get it done on the big stage, but this is going to be the year that he makes his first Final Four. 

This Purdue team is elite, Braden Smith has leveled up from a shaky freshman to one of the best point guards in the country, and the addition of Lance Jones from Southern Illinois gives the Boilermakers another veteran scoring threat outside of Zach Edey and a 36.4% three-point shooter on the wing. 

Three-point shooting, though, is one of the reasons that Purdue could be on upset alert in the Big Ten tourney. That, and Tom Izzo. Firstly, Purdue is second in the country in three-point percentage at 41.1%, which is sustainable because they constantly get excellent shots from kickouts and offensive rebounds. Edey’s gravity sucks the defense in and allows Fletcher Loyer, Smith, and Jones to knock down open shots. However, Purdue is shooting 51.9% from deep in its last three games, and they’re well overdue to cool off. 

Now to the Tom Izzo of it all. Michigan State has talented veteran guards in Tyson Walker and A.J. Hoggard, but I’m not sure they’ve played a clean game all season and I’m not even certain this team knows how good it can be. Despite underperforming to an 18-13 (10-10) record and the ninth seed in the Big Ten, the Spartans are 19th in Kenpom and unlike Purdue are due for some serious positive shooting regression. 

If Michigan State gets past Minnesota, then Purdue will open its conference tournament run against the third-best team in the league.