Unbeaten Michigan rises to No. 1 in NCAA's NET rankings

The Detroit News

Michigan can boast the top men's basketball team in the country — at least according to the NCAA Evaluation Tool.

The unbeaten Wolverines rose one spot to No. 1 in the NCAA's new ranking system, on the heels of Saturday's 89-78 victory over South Carolina.

Ignas Brazdeikis (13) and Michigan are ranked No. 1, according to the NCAA Evaluation Tool.

Michigan (10-0) supplants Virginia, which also is unbeaten at 8-0 but dropped two spots. The Cavaliers are coming off a 57-49 victory over Virginia Commonwealth.

Michigan State (8-2) dropped one spot to No. 9.

The NET replace the Rating Percentage Index, and appears to be facing as much criticism as its predecessor, at least in the early going. According to Michigan coach John Beilein, it's simply too early to be rating any team.

“Nobody should be rating anything until probably January, seriously,” Beilein said late last month, shortly after the Wolverines were ranked No. 4 in the NET's debut. “You got big data, you got little data. It's like a guy hits a home run the first time up to bat. Man, he's going to get 65 this year.

“It's so inexact because we're playing different people, we're traveling, everybody is trying to figure things out. Throw away all polls and then maybe in January we'll find out where teams really are, and you can start some bracket selection and things like that then.”

NET will be a sorting tool used by the NCAA Tournament selection committee and is comprised of five factors: a team’s net efficiency, winning percentage, adjusted win percentage and scoring margin (capped at 10 points per game). The fifth factor, known as “Team Value Index,” is an opaque algorithm that involves game results, opponent and location. It’s also not clear how all five factors are weighted and what the exact formula is.

Of Michigan's 10 victories this season, nine are by at least 10 points, with last week's 62-60 victory over Northwestern the only outlier. 

Duke is ranked No. 2, while Gonzaga checks in at No. 4, and Texas Tech at No. 5.