NCAA adopts new evaluation tool to replace RPI

Getty Image

Getty Image

In its place, the league is introducing the NCAA Evaluation Tool, or NET for short.

But, according to KU administrator Larry Keating, who, for years, has been heavily involved in making the schedule for the KU men's basketball program, the new system does not figure to have much of an impact on KU.

NET was approved in July following months of consultation with the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee, the National Association Basketball Coaches, top basketball analytics experts and Google Cloud Professional Services.

Part of the process to develop NET included taking real data from recent games - including NCAA Tournament games - and analyzing that data from all angles, with the goal being to create a formula that is as accurate as possible and fair in its judgement of team performance. Games played in November carry equal importance to those played in February.

The NCAA developed the model during late-season games during the 2017-18 season, including NCAA Tournament games. Analytics data appearing on team sheets, such as KenPom and ESPNs Basketball Power Index, will not be factors in NET.

The NET will be used in conjunction with the quadrant system, which was introduced a year ago and is meant to give added weight to games played away from home.

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While the quadrant system was widely deemed an improvement to the selection process, the NET is another significant step in addressing the recommendations the NCAA received from the NABC's ad hoc committee, whose objective was to make recommendations regarding the selection, seeding and bracketing of teams. It also caps the winning margin at 10 points to discourage teams from running up the score. But important to note that those metrics, while on the team sheets, do not factor into the NET. But men's basketball now will have a new baseline ranking, in addition to being able to use other predictive rankings, such as ESPN's, Ken Pomeroy's and Jeff Sagarin's, which it began doing in a formal way last season.

For the RPI, it's a long-awaited death in college basketball circles.

The RPI was a flawed metric and that has been proven again and again and again. "As has always been the case, the committee won't exclusively focus on metrics to select at-large teams and seed the field".

Other sports that use RPI, and the women's basketball tournament (at least for the 2018-19) season, will continue to use it.

"There will always be a subjective element to the tournament selection process, too", Gavitt said in the release.

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