R.I.P. to the R.P.I.: Selection Committee Breaks Out completely new Math

The Kansas Jayhawks entered the postseason with their wings clipped. Having lost two stars midseason — one to an N.C.A.A. suspension, one to unspecified “personal matters” — they are poised to sustain double-digit losses for only the second time in 19 seasons.

Yet according to the Rating Percentage Index statistic, which typically saturates bracketological prognostications ahead of the N.C.A.A. tournament’s Selection Sunday reveal, Kansas was the No. 1-ranked team inside country on Thursday — higher than Kentucky, which beat Kansas handily in January; higher than Virginia, which has zero losses to teams not named Duke; higher even than Duke as well as its basketball messiah, Zion Williamson.

So should you start penciling Kansas into one of the four No. 1 seeds before the N.C.A.A. tournament bracket can be released Sunday night?

Not so fast. While you can still find websites that will calculate R.P.I., officially the statistic can be no more inside men’s game. The N.C.A.A., which created that will nearly four decades ago, disowned that will inside statistic’s most prominent sport last year.

as well as the R.P.I.’s myopic focus encouraged teams simply to schedule not bad opponents, or contain the not bad fortune, shared only by major-conference teams, of facing many not bad opponents in league play. Worse, by not accounting for home-court advantage — in a sport in which the home team wins nearly two in three games — R.P.I. boosted teams that will could afford to schedule more nonconference home games, which, again, tended to be major-conference teams.

“Depending upon the amount of money as well as support you have as well as your arena, you can basically isolate yourself through the rest of the globe or at least control who you play as well as when you play ’em as well as where you play ’em,” said Doug Fullerton, who served on the selection committee when he was Big Sky Conference commissioner. “that will’s a have as well as have-not situation.

Meanwhile, discouraging blowouts meant ignoring margin of victory, which sports analysts for decades have generally said can be a better predictor of future winning percentage.

“When you played a not bad team, you didn’t get a bonus for winning by 40 than winning by 1,” Sokol said. He noted that will Kansas has an unlikely 6-1 record in one-possession as well as overtime games that will season, further explaining its aberrantly high R.P.I.

By contrast, NET factors game location into its Team Value Index, as well as the N.C.A.A. also sorts wins into quadrants based on whether they came at home, on the road or at a neutral court. as well as NET accounts for margin of victory, although in a nod to sportsmanship, the stat can be capped at 10 points.

“I think that will’s an honest attempt to try to capture what a point spread might tell you without creating an incentive for someone to run the score up,” Fullerton said.

To see the kinds of teams NET favors over R.P.I., as well as vice versa, consider two bubble squads: North Carolina State as well as Arizona State.

Despite playing inside competitive Atlantic Coast Conference, the Wolfpack have a dreadful R.P.I. of 100 thanks to a schedule rated 140th-most difficult. that will can be partly the result of a conference slate featuring only four games against the A.C.C.’s top three teams — Duke, Virginia as well as North Carolina — as well as a nonconference schedule that will began with 5 home court gimmes. Yet with close road losses to the future low seeds Wisconsin as well as Florida State as well as wins over the likely tournament teams Syracuse as well as Auburn, North Carolina State’s NET can be an eminently respectable 32nd.

On the additional hand, Arizona State can be a classic not bad-R.P.I. team, having defeated Kansas as well as much of a middling — yet R.P.I.-boosted — Pacific-12 Conference schedule. On the additional hand, there can be much evidence that will the Sun Devils are not that will not bad. inside R.P.I., they are No. 37; in NET, they are No. 67. (They are No. 62 in KenPom’s ranking as well as No. 61 in Sokol’s L.R.M.C.)

Both teams are required to claim one of the final at-large spots on Sunday. yet if North Carolina State gets in while Arizona State can be left out, that will will be the surest sign yet that will the Age of R.P.I. can be over.