NCAA Plan Could Reward Blowouts with Big March Madness Payouts

The NCAA may replace the Rating Percentage Index (RPI) with systems that reward blowouts in March Madness selection. The ratings below rank the teams most likely to grab some of the billion dollars generated in March based on the current RPI rankings as well as a more advanced combination of Ken Pomeroy and Value Add Basketball which calculate for victory margins and injuries, and CBS Sports bracketology expert Jerry Palm.

All three approaches pick Villanova as a No. 1 seed, a status they should retain along with Kentucky on Saturday as both play teams outside the Pomeroy top 100 (St. John’s and Auburn respectively). However, the two Big 12 teams slated as No. 1 seeds below both face tough tests as Baylor travels to Kansas State at 4:30 ET Saturday and Oklahoma State will challenge Kansas, whose Frank Mason has pulled within a half point of Villanova’s Josh Hart for Value Add Player of the Year. Here are the three approaches:

  1. RPI. The advantage to RPI is that there is no advantaged to rolling up a huge margin against an inferior team. Each team gets 1.4 wins for winning on the road, 1 win for a neutral court win, and 0.6 wins for a home victory. The team then gets credit for the record of their opponents, and of their opponents’ opponents to get a rating based purely one who wins and loses and how tough the opponents are. However, you should always reference the Forecasted end of season RPI here, rather than the current RPI which will change dramatically based on if you are in a strong or weak conference.
  2. Advanced Analytics that cold replace RPI. This report by ESPN indicates four state gurus, Jeff Sagarin (Sagarin), Kevin Pauga (KPI), Ken Pomeroy (KenPom.com) and Ben Alamar (ESPN’s BPI) will meet to discuss getting rid of RPI after this year to presumably use a combination of these four. While their systems all credit teams for margin of victory. While this does encourage blowouts, it also rewards teams for very strong showings – such as only losing by a couple of points playing a road game against a very good team. In addition, two of these four systems can rank a team based on injuries. BPI put a greater emphasis on games played when both teams are at full strength, but this actually lessens the credit a team gets for winning a game when they are missing key players. Value Add Basketball goes one step further by enabling the value of an injured (or returning) player to be used to adjust the Pomeroy team rating. To discover the values of all players how have left the team (“gone”) or are out for the season due to injury, simply put a backslash (“/”) in the “search team” field. The two teams who drop the furtherest are St. Joseph’s, whose Shavar Newkirk was worth 8.57 points, and Rhode Island, whose Hassan Martin was worth 6.92. No other team has lost a player worth even three points to their current ranking.
  3. Analysis. Whichever system is the analytical focus, they are just a starting point for the Selection Committee on March 12, as well as for Palm’s projections for CBS and Joe Lunardi’s for ESPN.

The following lists the seed that would result based on each of the previous three systems, with a decimal of .5 indicating a play-in game. While 16 is the worst seed, a 17 indicates the team is projected as one of the next four teams that would just miss the tournament now, and 18 meaning the the next four teams out, and a 20 indicating the team is not projected to come that close. Teams are ranked by the “average seed” from the three systems, though Palm’s projections weigh more powerfully.

The two teams who drop the furthest are St. Joseph’s, whose Shavar Newkirk was worth 8.57 points, and Rhode Island, whose Hassan Martin was worth 6.92. No other team has lost a player worth even three points to their current ranking.

Ave. Seed Team VA/KenPom RPI Seed Palm Value Add Conf
1.0 Villanova 1 1 1 50.37 BE
1.4 Kentucky 1 1 2 50.83 SEC
1.6 Kansas 2 2 1 47.42 B12
1.6 Baylor 3 1 1 46.73 B12
2.3 Gonzaga 3 2 2 46.39 WCC
2.6 North Carolina 1 1 5 49.27 ACC
2.7 Virginia 2 3 3 47.8 ACC
3.0 West Virginia 2 4 3 48.18 B12
3.1 Florida St. 5 4 1 42.56 ACC
3.2 UCLA 3 5 2 44.49 P12
3.4 Duke 3 3 4 44.92 ACC
3.4 Louisville 4 2 4 44.07 ACC
3.7 Arizona 4 3 4 44.15 P12
3.7 Butler 4 3 4 43.48 BE
3.8 Creighton 6 4 2 41.36 BE
4.1 Wisconsin 1 6 5 48.92 B10
4.2 Oregon 6 4 3 40.81 P12
4.5 Florida 5 2 6 43.13 SEC
5.1 Notre Dame 7 6 3 39.69 ACC
5.1 Saint Mary’s 4 5 6 44.37 WCC
5.3 Purdue 5 6 5 43.22 B10
5.4 Cincinnati 5 5 6 41.83 Amer
6.0 Xavier 7 5 6 39.3 BE
6.5 Minnesota 9 6 5 35.96 B10
7.8 SMU 7 7 9 39.2 Amer
8.7 Clemson 8 9 9 38.33 ACC
8.8 Pittsburgh 9 11 7 36.63 ACC
8.9 Dayton 11 8 8 35.09 A10
9.2 VCU 11.5 7 9 34.93 A10
9.3 USC 11.5 10 7 34.76 P12
9.3 Indiana 8 11 9 39.03 B10
9.4 Iowa St. 6 8 13 39.91 B12
9.6 UNC Wilmington 9 7 12 36.08 CAA
9.7 TCU 9 10 10 36.02 B12
10.1 Texas Tech 6 17 8 40 B12
10.3 Northwestern 11 12.5 8 35.43 B10
10.3 Michigan St. 17 8 7 34.47 B10
10.7 Middle Tennessee 12 9 11 33.48 CUSA
11.6 Maryland 18 10 8 33.24 B10
11.9 Wichita St. 2 11 20 48.12 MVC
12.5 Houston 10 9 17 35.5 Amer
12.5 South Carolina 8 7 20 36.95 SEC
12.6 Chattanooga 12 14 12 33.34 SC
12.7 Boise St. 13 12 13 31.73 MWC
12.9 Seton Hall 12.5 17 10 34.84 BE
13.0 Vermont 13 13 13 30.12 AE
13.2 Oakland 15 13 12 27.1 Horz
13.3 Virginia Tech 17 18 7 34.37 ACC
13.3 Rhode Island 20 9 11.5 27.83 A10
13.3 Akron 14 13 13 29.58 MAC
13.6 New Mexico St. 14 14 13 28.73 WAC
13.7 Princeton 12 15 14 32.14 Ivy
13.9 Georgia 12.5 11 17 34.9 SEC
14.0 Illinois St. 18 12.5 12 33.32 MVC
14.0 Florida Gulf Coast 14 14 14 27.68 ASun
14.2 Wake Forest 8 12.5 20 37.53 ACC
14.7 Belmont 15 14 15 27.14 OVC
14.9 UNC Asheville 16 15 14 25.44 BSth
14.9 UT Arlington 13 10 20 30.94 SB
15.6 Texas Southern 16 16 15 23.66 SWAC
15.7 California 17 12.5 17 34.65 P12
16.0 Illinois 20 20 10 31.82 B10
16.0 North Carolina St. 20 20 10 31.12 ACC
16.1 Kansas St. 7 20 20 39.16 B12
16.4 UC Irvine 16.5 16 16.5 21.43 BW
16.4 Miami FL 10 18 20 35.46 ACC
16.4 Oklahoma St. 11 17 20 35.03 B12
16.4 Bucknell 13 15 20 30.15 Pat
16.4 Monmouth 15 13 20 27.06 MAAC
16.4 Nevada 20 8 20 30.53 MWC
16.5 North Dakota St. 20 15 15 24.45 Sum
16.6 Arkansas St. 20 20 11.5 24.83 SB
17.0 Michigan 10 20 20 35.9 B10
17.0 Syracuse 10 20 20 35.64 ACC
17.3 Marquette 17 18 17 34.56 BE
17.4 Weber St. 20 16.5 16 23.53 BSky
17.6 Mount St. Mary’s 20 16.5 16.5 14.68 NEC
17.6 Georgia Southern 20 20 14 23.17 SB
17.6 Arkansas 20 12 20 32.81 SEC
17.9 North Carolina Central 16.5 16.5 20 22.16 MEAC
18.0 Boston University 20 20 15 29.96 Pat
18.2 Fort Wayne 14 20 20 29.98 Sum
18.4 Rider 20 20 16 16.67 MAAC
18.5 Portland St. 15 20 20 26.24 BSky
18.6 New Orleans 20 20 16.5 17.6 Slnd
18.6 Delaware St. 20 20 16.5 8.52 MEAC
19.0 Sam Houston St. 20 16.5 20 12.74 Slnd
19.0 Southeastern Louisiana 16.5 20 20 19.73 Slnd
19.0 Wagner 16.5 20 20 19.63 NEC
19.1 BYU 20 17 20 33.05 WCC
19.4 Northeastern 20 18 20 29.82 CAA
19.4 Texas A&M 18 20 20 33.93 SEC
19.4 Utah 18 20 20 34.27 P12


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