ESPN’s Joe Lunardi is currently projecting Purdue as a clear No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament.

The Boilermakers and Alabama have separated themselves at the top, according to Lunardi. Tennessee, Kansas and Houston remain in the hunt for the final No. 1 seeds.

Here’s his latest analysis:

Purdue is off to a 19-1 start this season. The Boilermakers are the No. 1 team in the country in the latest AP Top 25 and likely would be the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament if the season ended today.

Purdue has been feasting on a Big Ten conference that lacks other elite teams. The league could have as many as 9 bids for the NCAA Tournament this season, but only the Boilermakers made the Top 25 this week.

While Matt Painter has enjoyed a lot of success at Purdue, he’s never produced a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Boilermakers have been a top seed 3 times previously, but not since the 1995-96 season. Gene Keady was Purdue’s coach for all 3 campaigns that ended with a No. 1 seed. Painter’s best result was a No. 2 seed in 2018.

Purdue has won 6 games in a row. It will be in action again on Thursday against Michigan.