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The NCAA just released the latest RPI rankings for Division I men’s basketball teams and if your favourite team is in any danger of not making the NCAA Tournament, you’re going to want to take a look.Ratings Percentage Index is not a particularly complicated stat. It’s merely a formula that factors a team’s own winning percentage along side the winning percentage of its opponents and its opponents’ opponents.
But because it provides such a simple shorthand (probably too simple) of not just strength of schedule, but also a team’s performance relative to that the strength of schedule, it has become the go to stat for the NCAA selection committee to rank teams.
If you’ve haven’t read Andy Staples account of his participation in a mock NCAA Selection Committee (using the exact same conditions that the real committee will be under in two weeks), there are many reasons you should, but one of his key observations was that the data provided to the committee members relies very heavily on RPI.
So unless the members bring their own outside research, RPI is going to be the number one measure that determines who is in and who is out.
Meaning that if your at-large bubble team isn’t somewhere in the top 40 or so, you probably should call your Final Four travel agent just yet.
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