Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

RPI? R.I.P.

February 17, 2002 Columns No Comments


RPI? More like R.I.P.

by Bill Thayer

The RPI. Three letters that can make any college basketball fan cringe. Three letters we are going to hear over and over again as March approaches. Three letters that can make or break a team’s chances of dancing. Three letters that should no longer be part of basketball lingo.

College basketball fans love to joke about college football’s system of deciding a national champion. While college football doesn’t have a tournament set up, they do have their system decided on the field (somewhat) with a team’s fate resting in the hands of computers. When looked at a little more objectively, college basketball isn’t that different. Any team that makes the field of 65 has the opportunity to make a run at the national championship, no matter how much of a longshot that team is. When the RPI is factored in, a team may be eliminated from tournament contention.

Now I’ve seen the report that is sent out representing the RPI. There are lots of numbers, but what it boils down to are record, schedule strength and opponents strength of schedule (which are, coincidentally or not, the same three factors the BCS uses). Numbers don’t tell the whole story though.

I’ld like to look at three teams.

TEAM A: 8-2 in their last ten games. Wins over: Pepperdine, Texas. Losses: Arizona State, Wyoming, UNLV

TEAM B: 10-0 in their last ten games. Wins over: Indiana, Gonzaga, Dayton, Cincinnati. Losses: Wisconsin, Wake Forest, Charlotte

TEAM C: 8-2 in their last ten games. Wins over: Ball State, Indiana. Losses: Wright St, Detroit, UW-Milwaukee.

Now, think about the order you think those three teams should be in.

Team A is Utah.
Team B is Marquette.
Team C is Butler.

Utah’s RPI is 16.
Marquette’s RPI is 27.
Butler’s RPI is 59.

I don’t know about you, but the first thing I notice is that Marquette’s resume is much more impressive than Utah’s. The Golden Eagles should be considered a lock for the Tournament, but until their RPI moves into the top 25, I don’t think they can rest easy. As for Utah and Butler, it doesn’t seem like there is a huge difference between the two teams. The Mountain West’s wins are considered better than those in the Horizon, so Utah’s conference improves.

Therein lies the problem with the RPI. It looks at every game equally. Of Butler’s three losses, one was in double OT (to Wright State), one was a road game in a very hostile environment (to Detroit) and the other was on a miracle shot at the buzzer (to UWM). The easy excuse would be to say that they should win those games, but it’s not that easy. If Selection Sunday was this weekend, I think Butler would get shafted if they didn’t win the Horizon.

Gonzaga is another team that is shorted by the RPI. It’s well known that the Zags are a very good team. They are 21-3, including wins in 16 of their last 17 games but as they continue to win games, their RPI falls. The computer looks at WCC games as being against inferior opponents, so no matter what happens, Mark Few’s bunch takes a hit. For WCC teams, a game against Gonzaga is one of the biggest of the season. The Bulldogs will face their opponents on an emotional high night after night. It doesn’t matter if you’re Duke, Kansas or Gonzaga, that gets draining.

So when Selection Sunday rolls around and you see Southern Illinois, UC Irvine or Butler getting the shaft, just take a look at the four digit number that killed them, the (thumbs toward shoulders) R-P-I.

Assorted Musings

• What a day of basketball Saturday! I don’t know which was the biggest thriller: Notre Dame’s 4 OT win over Georgetown, Cal’s 2 OT upset of Oregon, St. John’s holding off UConn in OT or Baylor defending their homecourt against Missouri. The big winners were the fans who were able to see all four games.

• Speaking of Notre Dame, I love watching Chris Thomas play. He genuinely enjoys the sport, and it shows. It’s easy to root for a player like Thomas, who gives it his all every minute (even if there are 60 of them).

• Gerald Fitch is, pound-for-pound, the best rebounder in the nation.

• Maryland forward Chris Wilcox: “When you dunk, they say it is only two points, but it turns into six points because it gets everybody hyped. I think that helps us out a lot, to have some action and have some fun.” Take note, Dan Hauptman!

• Duke/Maryland II? Yeah, that’ll be fun. But don’t miss Gonzaga/Pepperdine II Friday night.
• Wait, what’s that? Duke/Maryland won’t be seen in the midwest? Hmmm . . .don’t think I can comment on that . . .I think I’m supposed to say something about those lucky folks getting a (ha ha) big-time (ha ha ha) Big Ten (HA HA HA) rivalry (BWAH HA HA HA)

• Forget MedalGate, give me GradeGate! Creighton’s Michael Lindeman was only placed on the MVC’s All-Academic Second-Team despite his 3.98 GPA. The All-Academic teams are selected by a vote of the league’s sports information directors.

• Look out Patriot League, here comes the Colgate Red Raiders. At 6-5, the Red Raiders are tied for third, two games behind league leader American. Defending conference champion Holy Cross sits in second. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, Colgate is going to the dance.

     

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 18, 2018

January 18, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about big road wins for a few teams, including a couple of bluebloods that looked destined for losses, as well as an unsettled Big Ten beyond one team, an SEC where you shouldn’t pay attention to bracketologists, and the problems with a proposed earlier start to the college basketball season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 11, 2018

January 11, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about several big pieces of news away from game play, one of which puts a lot in perspective. We also talk about the lack of dominant teams and how this has shown up in the results, especially this past weekend.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 4, 2018

January 4, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we start with a big game in the Big East, then move on to the sudden lack of undefeated teams, a big injury in the ACC, and a powerhouse that looks vulnerable in a stacked conference they have long ruled.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – December 8, 2017

December 8, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a bizarre finish to an early-season tournament game, the Pac-12’s early struggles, Florida teams going in different directions and two northeast teams trending less relevant even as they excite fans at a famous arena.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – November 22, 2017

November 22, 2017 by

In our pre-Thanksgiving podcast, we look at a key injury that is likely to be devastating for his team and an under-the-radar 4-0 week, then move on to some early SEC impressions and a couple of teams that just continue to win.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.