On Wednesday morning, the NCAA announced a new rating system that will factor into the Selection Committee’s decision-making process.
This new methodology will be known as the NCAA Evaluation Tool, or NET. It will replace the current system, Rating Percentage Index (RPI), as the primary numerical representative for teams in March.
RPI uses a combination of winning percentage, opponents’ winning percentage, and opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage to determine how strong a given college basketball team may be. There are certain weightings in this formula, but common complaints include an over-emphasis on the performance of teams distant to the school in question (i.e. opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage).
From the NCAA’s release, NET will account for a larger array of metrics, including:
- game results
- strength of schedule
- game location
- scoring margin (up to 10 points in either direction)
- net offensive and defensive efficiency
- quality of wins and losses
While reducing a team to one all-encompassing metric will always be an impossible feat, NET looks like a step in the correct direction. Particularly interesting is the inclusion of net offensive and defensive efficiency, which goes beyond win-loss records and simple box score stats.
The selection and evaluation process is always under scrutiny, but NET should provide some clarity for both fans and committee members. RPI was a useful measure, but had obvious limitations. At a time where criticizing the NCAA is too easy, it is encouraging to see them at least take a step in the right direction.
Prior to last season, the NCAA created a quadrant system to help the Selection Committee rank a team’s games and opponents. This system placed teams into four buckets based on location and RPI. Going forward, NET will replace RPI in this calculation. The quadrants will remain the same:
- Quadrant 1: Home 1-30, Neutral 1-50, Away 1-75
- Quadrant 2: Home 31-75, Neutral 51-100, Away 76-135
- Quadrant 3: Home 76-160, Neutral 101-200, Away 135-240
- Quadrant 4: Home 161-351, Neutral 201-351, Away 241-353