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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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|
|13.6||New Mexico St.||14||14||13||28.73||WAC|
|14.0||Florida Gulf Coast||14||14||14||27.68||ASun|
|16.0||North Carolina St.||20||20||10||31.12||ACC|
|16.5||North Dakota St.||20||15||15||24.45||Sum|
|17.6||Mount St. Mary’s||20||16.5||16.5||14.68||NEC|
|17.9||North Carolina Central||16.5||16.5||20||22.16||MEAC|
|19.0||Sam Houston St.||20||16.5||20||12.74||Slnd|