College Basketball Content

Lowest-ranked at-large teams in RPI to make NCAA tournament have had decent success 

CBN has been tracking the RPI since the 1991 season, and it is quite compelling to examine how the lowest-ranked, at-large team in the NCAA tournament fared each year. Those ranks range from Oklahoma State's No. 49 rank in 2001, to New Mexico's No. 74 mark in 1999, a swing of 25 places. OSU's rank was the only one in the 40's, 12 teams were ranked in the 50's, 9 in the 60's, and there were 2 ranked in the 70's.

Many, and probably most, of these 24 teams were not the last team selected to the tournament by the committees in their respective years, as determined by their seeds. Ten (10) of the 24 teams were No. 11 seeds, 5 teams each were No. 9 and No. 10 seeds, while 3 teams were No. 12 seeds and 1 team received a No. 8 seed. These teams represented 10 different conferences, and 21 of the 24 are still in the same conference as when selected, quite an accomplishment considering the realignment of the conferences through the years. The Pac-10/12 leads the group with 6, the Big Ten has 4, the Big East and Mountain West had 3 each, the ACC and SEC 2 each, while the Big 12, MAC, now-defunct Metro, and WAC each had 1 lowest-ranked, at-large team in the tournament.

These teams have had fairly good success in the tournament, at least if the higher seed is expected to beat the lower seed. Their first-round record is 9-15, they were 2-7 in the second round, and 0-2 in the regional semifinals round, for an overall mark of 11-24. Not bad, really, for a bunch of teams that were wondering if they would even make the tournament in the first place, let alone win a game or two.

       RPI                                  NCAA
 Year Rank School         Seed Conference   W-L
 1991  69  Georgia         11  SEC          0-1
 1992  53  Iowa             9  Big Ten      1-1
 1993  61  Tulane          11  Metro        1-1
 1994  55  Alabama          9  SEC          1-1
 1995  66  Minnesota        8  Big Ten      0-1
 1996  52  California      12  Pac-10       0-1
 1997  57  Georgetown      10  Big East     0-1
 1998  58  W. Michigan     11  MAC          1-1
 1999  74  New Mexico       9  WAC          1-1
 2000  52  UNLV            10  Mtn. West    0-1
 2001  49  Oklahoma St.    11  Big 12       0-1
 2002  65  Wyoming         11  Mtn. West    1-1
 2003  54  N.C. State       9  ACC          0-1
 2004  70  Air Force       11  Mtn. West    0-1
 2005  65  N.C. State      10  ACC          2-1
 2006  58  Seton Hall      10  Big East     0-1
 2007  63  Stanford        11  Pac-10       0-1
 2008  58  Oregon           9  Pac-10       0-1
 2009  62  Arizona         12  Pac-10       2-1
 2010  62  Minnesota       11  Big Ten      0-1
 2011  67  USC             11  Pac-10       0-1
 2012  57  West Virginia   10  Big East     0-1
 2013  54  California      12  Pac-12       1-1
 2014  56  Iowa            11  Big Ten      0-1

Bracket Bits from The RPI Report and The Women's RPI Report

Tidbits from recent issues of The RPI Report and The Women's RPI Report

From The RPI Report:   Teams that play non-Division I opponents often do so to secure home games when Division I opponents are unavailable or unwilling to travel to their place. The average RPI ranks for teams that play non-Division I opponents shown below should surprise nobody.
● The 120 teams that played 0 non-Division I games averaged an RPI rank of 120
● The 83 teams that played 1 non-Division I games averaged an RPI rank of 174
● The 90 teams that played 2 non-Division I games averaged an RPI rank of 215
● The 38 teams that played 3 non-Division I games averaged an RPI rank of 207
● The 18 teams that played 4 non-Division I games averaged an RPI rank of 256
● The 229 teams that played 1 or more non-Division I games averaged an RPI rank of 204

From The Women's RPI Report:   Non-Division I games generally do only one thing for a team, which is usually secure a home win. While playing non-Division I opponents may be unavoidable for some, it is clear that teams which do not play non-Division I teams have a decided RPI advantage over those that do.
● The 217 teams that played 0 non-Division I games averaged an RPI rank of 150
● The 68 teams that played 1 non-Division I games averaged an RPI rank of 211
● The 39 teams that played 2 non-Division I games averaged an RPI rank of 206
● The 23 teams that played 3 non-Division I games averaged an RPI rank of 234
● The 130 teams that played 1 or more non-Division I games averaged an RPI rank of 214

Teams with No. 1 schedule strength rankings can usually look forward to NCAA tournament invitation

Kansas had No. 1 overall and non-conference schedule strength rank at end of regular season, went 1-1 in NCAA tournament

Kansas won honors for both the best overall and non-conference schedule strength at the end of the 2014 regular season. In fact, the Jayhawks had the second-best overall regular-season schedule strength since CBN began tracking the RPI in 1991. Kansas' .6678 schedule strength for 2014 is second only to Maryland's .6679 in 1998.  The Jayhawks also had the best opponents' won-lost record of 689-369 (.6512) in the regular season, and the best RPI rank of opponents played, which is an alternate way of determining schedule strength. Kansas received a No. 2 seed and eventually lost to Stanford in the third round by a score of 60-57. Since 1991, 19 of the 24 teams holding the No. 1 schedule strength rank at the end of the regular season were in the NCAA tournament, and 20 of those 24 teams were in post-season play. However, having the No. 1 schedule strength does not guarantee success in the NCAA tournament. In six of the last fourteen seasons, the team holding top schedule strength honors has lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament. In the ten years prior to that, no teams with the No. 1 schedule strength that made the NCAA tournament lost in the first round, although three of those teams did not make the NCAA tournament. The best that a team has done in the NCAA tournament that had the best regular-season schedule strength was North Carolina in 1997, losing in the national semifinals to eventual national champion Arizona. Notre Dame had the best regular-season schedule strength in 1992 with a 14-14 record and finished second in the NIT. List

Several conferences use CBN's RPI data to break tournament seeding ties

Administrators have complete confidence in CBN's RPI

Nearly all conference offices subscribe to both The RPI Report and The Women's RPI Report because they know they can count on the most accurate weighted RPI for the men and the women anywhere this side of the NCAA tournament selection committees. CBN first made the Adjusted RPI ratings (which are no longer used for either the men nor the women) available to The RPI Report and The Women's RPI Report subscribers during the 1998-99 season. The NCAA used the Adjusted RPI ratings from the 1993-94 through the 2003-04 season for the men and have used the weighted RPI since the 2004-05 season, while the women used the Adjusted RPI through the 2010-11 season and began using the weighted RPI during the 2011-12 season. The weighted RPI gives more credit to teams that schedule tough opponents and that beat good teams at home and on the road. Story

AP carried the Men's RPI Ratings for 16th consecutive year during the 2009-10 season

2009-10 was the 13th season that AP distributed the Women's RPI Ratings

During the 2009-10 season, the Associated Press (AP) carried the CBN's RPI for both men's and women's college basketball, for the 16th consecutive year, for at least part of the season. In addition, 2009-10 was the 13th consecutive season that the AP distributed the women's RPI for at least part of the season. Story