Gophers’ Schedule Will Punish Their RPI in 2014-15

Gophers’ Schedule Will Punish Their RPI in 2014-15

Minnesota’s RPI in recent years has been helped by a strong strength of schedule (SOS). As a reminder, SOS is not a good measurement of schedule strength or difficulty. It’s a calculation that’s called SOS. Many believe SOS to be a good indicator as to how challenging a schedule is, but such thinking is inconsistent with logic.

At any rate, the Gophers have been helped in past years by playing few teams with horrible win-loss records. Based on our projections, the win-loss records of this year’s nonconference opponents as compared to 2013-14 will have a negative impact on the team’s RPI of approximately .0175.

To put in perspective, Minnesota’s Selection Sunday RPI in March was .5778 – good for #50 in the nation. Adjusting downward by .0175 would have pushed them to #73 (adding .0175 would’ve elevated them to #37). Under most circumstances .0175 is not insignificant.

Let’s first consider last season, when Minnesota’s nonconference opponents had a winning percentage of 58% (excluding games against the Gophers). Of 12 D-I nonconference games, only 2 teams had a winning percentage of less than 50%. Sure, a team like Texas A&M – Corpus Christi didn’t pose much of a threat, but their win-loss percentage of 56% didn’t drag down Minnesota’s average much.

In 2014-15 it won’t be just 2 teams with sub-50% win-loss records. LNH currently projects that at least half of Minnesota’s nonconference opponents will fall below that mark.

Now, we’re only 3 days into the season and much can change. In addition to the season playing out for every team, a relatively large variable is whether the Gophers play Gonzaga or Georgia.

Nonetheless, we’ll share that we’re projecting an opponents’ win-loss percentage of .4895 for purposes of the RPI calculation. The projection includes Georgia as an opponent. If Minnesota plays the Zags instead, the percentage rises to just over 50%, but is still considerably down from a year ago.

Winning a lot of games takes care of the SOS concerns, but Minnesota’s nonconference schedule isn’t doing them any favors in 2014-15.

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