Big changes are coming to how the NCAA Tournament field of 68 is formed.
On Wednesday, the NCAA announced that it would replace RPI and begin using a new ranking system as the primary tool for evaluating teams during the Division I men’s basketball season.
The new ranking system will be known as the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET). It relies on game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin, net offensive and defensive efficiency, and the quality of wins and losses.
Also, game date and order were omitted to give equal importance to both early and late-season games. There’s also now a cap of 10 points applied to the winning margin to prevent rankings from encouraging unsportsmanlike play, such as running up the score in a game where the outcome was already decided.
This comes one year after the NCAA began using a quadrant system to better evaluate wins and losses. That will continue to be used in addition to the new NET model.
It is worth noting that the RPI still will be used by other Division I sports committees, including the Women’s Basketball Committee for the 2018-19 season, so it’s not being completely scrapped.
One other note: The NET rankings will be public available beginning in late November or early December, and then they’ll be updated daily through Selection Sunday, so we’ll still get a full season to analyze these rankings before the final selections are made.
Personally, I like the changes, especially the cap limit that discourages teams from running up the score in order to make their wins look more impressive. The RPI was a very flawed system that helped lead to far too many bad seeding decisions every Selection Sunday.
What are your thoughts on the new system? I would love to see the NCAA take a previous tournament and show us how the NET would have changed the field of 68 that year.