A year ago, Minnesota’s RPI (20 on Selection Sunday) benefitted from their strong strength of schedule (as defined by the RPI – not as any rational human would define it). Their opponents’ strength of schedule (“SOS”), worth 50% of the RPI, was .5953 as the NCAA tourney field was being finalized.
The Gophers enjoyed a well-constructed schedule under which they faced a number of relative easy games against beatable competition who happened to finish the year with good win-loss records.
For example, no one was concerned about hosting Mount St. Mary’s. Minnesota won 80-56. But, for purposes of Minnesota’s Selection Sunday SOS, Mount St. Mary’s had a record of 19-14 (.5758).
Last year’s lid lifter vs. Lafayette wasn’t scary, but the Ragin’ Cajuns were 19-11 (.6333) on Selection Sunday for purposes of Minnesota’s SOS calc.
Things will not be the same in 2017-18. The Gophers SOS will be considerably weaker.
Late Night Hoops projects an SOS on Selection Sunday of just .5520, or .0433 less than 2016-17. If we adjust last year’s RPI of .6109 for only the impact of the lower SOS (e.g., 50% of .0433), the Gophers would have had a Selection Sunday RPI of 39 instead of 20.