Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

BCS’s Cousin

March 1, 2004 Columns No Comments

Profiling Purdue – No Love for the Boilermakers

by Michael Ermitage

Here we go again. Man’s dependence on computers is seeping into the college basketball world. It has taken the ugly form of the RPI, first cousin to the BCS bowl formula. For too many people scared to think for themselves, computers offer a nice escape. Instead of objectively measuring each team’s resume for inclusion into the NCAA Tournament field, many pundits/experts/dudes with too much time on their hands slap an RPI number next to a team and let that determine a team’s fate. Too many people have forgotten that the RPI is just a tool in assisting a process, not the be-all, end-all solution. Let’s not let computers rule our lives – have we not all seen the Matrix?

The highest RPI ever attached to a team who gained admission to the NCAA Tournament through an at-large bid was 74. But that was New Mexico in 1999 and the New Mexico Athletic Director was on the selection committee. So, let’s chalk that one up to politics. The next highest is 66, accomplished by Minnesota in 1995. So, using the current RPI, as provided by our computer-loving partner Jerry Palm and his collegerpi.com, I can find three teams deserving of bids with an RPI greater than 66. Furthermore, since it begs the question of “Then who do you not admit,” I’ll eliminate three popular teams with an RPI of 66 or better.

My three:

Murray State (67) – Let’s just give the Racers a chance. They’ve done just about everything they can do short of beating Louisville and Pittsburgh, but not a lot of teams have beaten either of those two powerhouses. Murray State, however, does own wins against Conference USA’s Southern Miss and TCU, and a huge victory over media-darling Southern Illinois. This is a team that is a scorching 12-2 in its conference, and owns double-digit road/neutral wins. Not invited to play in Bracket Buster Saturday, this is a team that deserves a chance on a national stage.

East Tennessee State (76) – If not for any other reason, this team will make the game exciting. A potent offensive club, it has lost its two shots at Top-100 RPI competition in road losses at Texas Tech and Clemson. The … were competitive in both games. They recently won a tough road contest at Fresno State in Bracket Buster competition. Undefeated in its conference, East Tennessee State is likely to get the automatic bid, but should be included in the field if they should stumble. Few teams have dominated its conference as the … have, winning its conference games by an average of 10.4 points per contest.

Purdue (90) – Yes, it is the unusual situation of my alma mater that made me more closely inspect the RPI. Does that make me biased? Hell yeah. But just like anything else that happens in life, you don’t really pay much attention to it until it happens to you or someone you love. I would imagine that you haven’t given much thought to sleep disorders, but millions of people suffer from those every day. Including my friend Dan, I think, who one time fell asleep while dancing in a shady 4 a.m. bar. Good stuff. Anyway, back to the issue at hand. The Boilermakers have defeated five Top 50 RPI teams, including Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan State, Duke and Seton Hall. They have an 8-6 road/neutral record. And have lost only one game by more than nine points. Since the RPI disregards margin of victory, it completely ignores whether or not a team was competitive or blown out in a game. It also does not take into account the venue of the game – another major flaw.

Now, on to the three highly-rated RPI teams that don’t deserve a bid. You’ll find a common theme amongst these teams. And that is that they’ve had plenty of opportunity to prove themselves and have failed to do so numerous times.

Colorado (49) – If the Buffs make the tournament over the above-mentioned teams, something is seriously wrong. This is a team that has played a whopping 10 games against Top 50 RPI competition – they’ve won three. Those three wins are against an underachieving Missouri and Oklahoma teams, as well as a struggling Texas Tech club. All three of those wins were at home; the Buffaloes are a mediocre .500 on the road. Its seven Top 50 RPI losses are by an average of 14.7 points, indicating to me that the Buffaloes can only beat fringe top competition, and is completely outclassed by everyone else.

George Washington (62) – The Colonials are 2-5 against Top 50 RPI competition. Its two wins, a two-point win against Dayton at home and a four-point road victory at Charlotte. It was the only noteworthy road victory of the year for GW, who stands 4-7 in road/neutral sites. George Washington has lost to the likes of Old Dominion, Fairfield and Appalachian State. Its two quality wins does not outweigh its three poor losses.

Notre Dame (57) – Yet another team that has failed miserably in its big-game chances. Most mid-majors would give anything to play 11 Top 50 RPI schools to prove themselves, and I’d wager that most good ones would fare better than 3-8. Their three wins are at home against Connecticut and Seton Hall, and on the road against a fading Syracuse team. The Golden Domers don’t travel well, amassing a 4-5 road/neutral record. Give Mike Brey credit for getting this team to improve, but it isn’t enough to overcome its previous failures.

Since the expansion to 65 teams, there have been many teams that fall on the bubble. It is just too difficult to differentiate between so many schools with such similar resumes. But let’s not let the RPI be the measuring stick by which we measure this plethora of similar teams. Let’s ask ourselves – who have they beaten and have they been competitive against the best competition. Because ultimately the tournament is about which teams can compete against the best teams. And we don’t need a computer to figure that out.


Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


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

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

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – February 22, 2018

February 22, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we start with floor issues in the Big East and an important NCAA ruling that was upheld. Then we go on to the Big 12, where Wednesday night had a new twist, as well as the ACC and how it shapes up along with no team going undefeated in conference play this year.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – February 7, 2018

February 7, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a big sweep in the SEC, look back on the wild Saturday, then talk about a Big Ten showdown and some undefeated teams in conference play.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 31, 2018

January 31, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a lot of what has happened in the ACC and SEC, including the Big 12/SEC Challenge, whether or not Kentucky is turning a corner, as well as the story at Michigan State.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 26, 2018

January 26, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a wild night in the Big Ten, adversity and a quiet leader in the ACC, what to make of Kentucky and look ahead to the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

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.

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.