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.