How much does the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) matter? How much should it matter? Those are questions debated by college basketball fans every year it seems, with the numbers generated by way of a mathematical formula being one of the tools used to determine who should play in the NCAA tournament.
On Friday afternoon the NCAA released its first official RPI rankings for the 2013-14 season, and Wisconsin sits atop the poll. Bo Ryan’s Badgers are currently 16-0 on the season with six road/neutral victories, and given how they’ve played to this point in the season it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that they’re in the top spot.
What is somewhat surprising is that Kansas, despite having four losses on the season, is second in the RPI. But for the “high” (compared to other top teams) number of losses that Bill Self’s team has suffered to this point in the season, it’s also important to recall just how tough Kansas’ non-conference schedule was. Those games against the likes of Villanova and San Diego State are why the Jayhawks are in the second spot, and should they take care of business in the Big 12 it’s highly likely that Kansas will receive their customary high seed on Selection Sunday.
Rounding out the top ten are Iowa State, UMass, Syracuse, Villanova, Arizona, Colorado, Ohio State and Michigan State. And with so many conference games to be played, it will be interesting to see what happens to the rankings of teams such as the Minutemen, Wichita State (ranked 11th) and Harvard (29th) as the season wears on.
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.