RIP RPI: NCAA to use new ranking system for men's hoops
Say goodbye to RPI.
The NCAA announced on Wednesday it has developed and adopted a new ranking system that will replace the rating percentage index as the primary sorting tool for evaluating teams during the Division I men’s basketball 2018-19 season.
The new ranking model — called the NCAA Evaluation Tool (or NET for short) — will use more team performance data and rely on game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin (capped at 10 points per game), net offensive and defensive efficiency, and the quality of wins and losses.
NET will also give equal importance to early and late-season games to be “as accurate as possible while also evaluating team performance fairly.”
RPI, which has been used since 1981 to aid in the seeding, selection and bracketing of teams in the NCAA Tournament, is less complex and oft-maligned. It rates teams based on a team’s wins and losses and its strength of schedule using three factors: a team’s winning percentage, its opponents’ winning percentage and the winning percentage of its opponents’ opponents.
The metric puts an emphasis on strength of schedule, favoring teams who played a tough slate while teams who played opponents with poor records had nothing to gain and everything to lose. RPI also doesn’t take into account scoring margin and lacks context because a loss against a good team is simply more valuable than a win against a poor team.
“What has been developed is a contemporary method of looking at teams analytically, using results-based and predictive metrics that will assist the men’s basketball committee as it reviews games throughout the season,” Dan Gavitt, senior vice president of basketball for the NCAA, said in a statement.
“While no perfect rankings exist, using the results of past tournaments will help ensure that the rankings are built on an objective source of truth.”
According to the NCAA, the NET ranking system was approved in July after months of collaboration and discussion with the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, top basketball analytics experts and Google Cloud Professional Services.
In addition to NET, the selection committee will still use the quadrant system, a metric that puts a greater emphasis on success at road and neutral sites, on team sheets as well as other popular metrics like the Kevin Pauga Index, ESPN’s Strength of Record, KenPom and Sagarin Ratings.
The NCAA said the RPI will still be used in other Division I sports, including women’s basketball.