It’s Rest In Peace (RIP) for the NCAA’s Rating Percentage Index (RPI), at least for college men’s basketball. Welcome to the new world of the NCAA Evaluation Tool or NET. The Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, coaches, basketball analytics experts (see below) and Google all had a hand in developing NET.
The Men’s Basketball Committee began using the RPI for supplemental data in 1981. The system isn’t going away completely though. The Women’s Basketball Committee will continue using the RPI through this season. RPI will continue to be used by a variety of other NCAA sports as well.
A variety of data will drive the new program. Among these sources are game results, strength of schedule (SOS), game location and scoring margin. The use of net efficiencies on offense/defense and quality of wins/losses will also be key points for final product from NET.
Test sets using late season NCAA games helped develop the ranking model that leverages machine learning techniques. This model was run until the outcome was as accurate as possible when creating the new system.
All NET – Buh Bye RPI
One aspect of the new system that helps ensure fairness is to place equal importance on both early and late season games. In addition, a cap of 10 points was applied to the winning margin to prevent rankings from encouraging unsportsmanlike play. In other words, no running up the points in a game where the outcome is certain.
Prior to last year the committee adopted the quadrant system that places an emphasis on games played away from home. That system will still be used with NET.
- Home 1-30
- Neutral 1-50
- Away 1-75
- Home 31-75
- Neutral 51-100
- Away 76-135
- Home 76-160
- Neutral 101-200
- Away 135-240
- Home 161-351
- Neutral 201-351
- Away 241-353
All NET – Data
NET will incorporate the objective data from the Quadrant scale along with metrics. The selection of postseason at-large and seeded teams will still include a degree of subjective input.
It all begins this season for men’s basketball and if all runs as smoothly as planned it will be RIP for RPI.