Tag Archives: RPI

Improved Scheduling Helped Marquette Reach 2016-17 Tourney

Improved Scheduling Helped Marquette Reach 2016-17 Tourney

On Selection Sunday, Marquette had an RPI of 61. If the largest component of RPI – opponents’ win-loss performance against all D-I teams except MU – would have been the same as 2015-16, Marquette would have had an RPI that was .0224 lower, slotting them at 82 in the RPI and likely out of the NCAA tournament.

The Warriors’ strength of schedule ranked them 219 of 351 teams as of Selection Sunday this season. This was a sizable improvement from 326 in 2015-16.

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Marquette’s Schedule Improved in 2016-17

Marquette’s Schedule Improved in 2016-17


Based on our current projections of the 2016-17 win-loss records (excluding games vs. Marquette) of Marquette’s opponents, we estimate a .0189 improvement in the RPI OWP component (50% of the RPI calculation) as compared to 2015-16.

A year ago, MU played 11 games against teams with sub-.300 winning percentages (on an OWP calculation basis). Those games were: St. John’s (x3), DePaul (x2), Chicago State, Grambling State, San Jose State, Maine, Stetson, and Presbyterian. Chicago State and Grambling State were especially bad at 1-27 and 4-23, respectively.

Had the Warriors’ OWP component been .0189 better a year ago, their Selection Sunday RPI ranking would jumped from #110 to #86. To further illustrate the magnitude, last year’s #50 RPI team on Selection Sunday would have jumped to #27 with an additional .0189.

It’s possible that in 2016-17, MU will play ZERO games against sub-.300 winning percentage teams (Western Carolina at .310 is the lowest projection we have).

While a team like St. Francis (PA) has a preseason KenPom rank of #326, the reality is they’re still projected to go 8-10 in their conference and we project them to finish 10-18 (,357) for MU’s OWP purposes.

Ultimately, Marquette needs to win a lot of games in order for the improved schedule to matter. But, without a doubt, they’re in a much better position than they were a year ago from an RPI-potential perspective.


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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.

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Are You Smarter Than a D-I Coach?

Are You Smarter Than a D-I Coach?
March 20, 2014

Quiz time. It’s a simple one. Many folks, including coaches, media, fans and “experts” use RPI strength of schedule (“SOS”) to describe a schedule’s “toughness”, “difficulty”, “level of challenge”, etc.

Indeed, SOS is used interchangeably with other descriptors when many argue how difficult a team’s schedule was.

Let’s pretend you’re Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino and your 2014-15 schedule is set with one exception. Coach K, Tyus Jones and Duke have agreed to play the Gophers and left it up to you as to where you want to play – Williams Arena or Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Which game location will make Minnesota’s RPI SOS stronger?

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NCAA Tourney Talk: AWP & the Minnesota Gophers

NCAA Tourney Talk: AWP & the Minnesota Gophers
February 24, 2014

The Minnesota Gophers welcome the Iowa Hawkeyes to the Barn on Tuesday night. A win would help their cause greatly, but there would still be work to do for the Gophers.

The RPI’s Strength of Schedule (“SOS”) is a misnomer. When fans, media, coaches, etc. use the RPI’s SOS as a synonym for “challenging”, “difficult”, “hard” or “tough”, they are being silly at best. Do the NCAA tournament committee members understand this? Perhaps not.

Either way, Minnesota’s RPI – particularly due to the SOS factors – is keeping their name in the NCAA tournament bubble conversation. Today we look at their adjusted winning percentage (“AWP”) and how it may look at season’s end. In addition, we’ll look at teams who have received at large bids despite weak AWP’s in the past couple of years.

As a reminder, we think a wild card in Minnesota’s tourney hopes is Dre Hollins’ ankle. Many things are possible so the team must continue fighting for wins with everything they’ve got.
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Minnesota’s 2012-13 RPI: Skill vs. Luck

June 5, 2013
Minnesota’s 2012-13 RPI: Skill vs. Luck

The Minnesota Golden Gophers had the nation’s 34th best RPI on Selection Sunday. Despite the RPI’s inherent flaws, Minnesota’s RPI ranking likely was a significant aid in making a case for an invitation to the 2012-13 NCAA tournament.

Many have noted the Gophers’ top-5 strength of schedule (“SOS”) ranking and called it “difficult” and “impressive”. How much of the SOS should be attributed to intelligent scheduling as opposed to factors at least partially out of the team’s control?
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Update on Minnesota Gophers’ RPI

March 16, 2013
Update On Minnesota Gophers’ RPI – after games of 3/15/2013
Updated after games of 3/16/2013

Although Minnesota has the worst adjusted winning percentage among all top 50 RPI teams, they still should finish with a solid RPI.

We project the Gophers, currently at #34, will finish with an RPI ranking of #35.

This is based on Missouri moving up one spot after today’s games are completed. If Florida and Ohio State are unable to win their respective tournament championships, Minnesota could stay above Missouri in the RPI. 

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Nonconference Schedule: Strength vs. Difficulty

February 23, 2013
Nonconference Schedule: Strength vs. Difficulty

We all know the RPI is flawed and silly (right?). Therefore it should be no surprise that the RPI’s nonconference strength of schedule (NCSOS) calculation produces some ridiculous results.

The NCSOS is simply a calculation. It doesn’t think. It just does as told. However, for being such a simple and strict measurement, people sure love to add qualitative descriptions to the NCSOS.

If a team has a strong NCSOS their schedule is often referred to as being “tough” or “difficult”. The goal of basketball games is to win them. Unfortunately an impressive NCSOS calculation does not indicate that a team played a lot of games that were “tough” or “difficult” to win. It just means that a team has a strong NCSOS calculation for purposes of the RPI.

A closer look is needed to understand how difficult a team’s schedule was and to make much of a statement past “well, that simple and shortsighted calculation produces a strong NCSOS!”  Whether you’re playing an opponent that “isn’t good” (less sweet cupcake) or “really awful” (super sweet cupcake) doesn’t make much of a difference in the likelihood of your team winning the game. However, the NCSOS loves if you’re dieting on the less sweet cupcakes instead of the super sweet variety.

With that said, below is some food for thought. For the seven Big Ten teams currently projected by most to make this year’s NCAA tournament, we’ve listed nonconference games against Top 50 RPI opponents (approximate RPI rankings through games of February 22, 2013) and against 200+ RPI opponents. The Big Ten teams are listed in order of their NCSOS rank (best NCSOS to worst).

Would you rank the nonconference schedules of these teams in the same order if you were ranking based on the difficulty of winning as many game as possible?

RPI Minnesota Loc
1 Duke Neutral
21 Memphis Neutral
260 American Home
231 North Florida Home
RPI Illinois Loc
11 Gonzaga Away
29 Butler Neutral
35 Missouri Neutral
206 St. Francis NY Home
207 Gardner Webb Home
247 Colgate Home
252 Western Carolina Home
RPI Michigan State Loc
2 Miami FL Away
5 Kansas Neutral
28 Connecticut Neutral
42 Boise St. Home
200 Arkansas Pine Bluff Home
212 Loyola Chicago Home
228 Louisiana Lafayette Home
246 Bowling Green Away
267 Nicholls St. Home
RPI Indiana Loc
16 Georgetown Neutral
26 North Carolina Home
29 Butler Neutral
203 Central Connecticut Home
222 Florida Atlantic Home
230 Sam Houston St. Home
235 Jacksonville Home
266 Ball St. Home
310 Coppin St. Home
RPI Wisconsin Loc
4 Florida Away
14 Marquette Away
45 California Home
47 Creighton Neutral
215 Cornell Home
265 Samford Home
287 Nebraska Omaha Home
303 Wisconsin Milwaukee Home
340 Presbyterian Home
RPI Ohio State Loc
1 Duke Away
5 Kansas Home
277 Winthrop Home
278 Northern Kentucky Home
292 Missouri Kansas City Home
321 Chicago St. Home
 Note: OSU had its game vs. 14 Marq canceled.
RPI Michigan Loc
18 Kansas St. Neutral
22 North Carolina St. Home
40 Pittsburgh Neutral
208 Cleveland St. Home
217 Eastern Michigan Home
255 Central Michigan Home
309 IUPUI Home
338 Binghamton Home

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