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|Welcome to TSLMail #204 - Friday, December 9, 2005||
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|Tech Sports News|
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Virginia Tech is a football school, so naturally talk on internet message boards centers around the BCS standings for the majority of the fall. The 2005 season saw the Hokies as high as third behind USC and Texas, and fans worried that Tech would get left out of the Rose Bowl because of a lower BCS rating. The Hokies went on to drop games to Miami and Florida State, so we didnít get to see that scenario play out. The BCS worked despite itself.
In college basketball, the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) is used by the NCAA Tournament selection committee as a barometer to compare teams that are on the bubble for the tournament. The RPI takes under consideration a teamís record, their opponentsí record, and their opponentsí opponentsí record.
The basic formula of the RPI is 25% team winning percentage, 50% opponentsí average winning percentage, and 25% opponentsí opponentsí average winning percentage. Last season, team winning percentage was altered based on home and away games. A team was given 1.4 wins for a victory on the road, and 0.6 wins for a victory at home. Likewise, a loss on the road is worth only 0.6 losses, but a loss at home is worth 1.4.
Margin of victory is not factored into the RPI. A Tech victory by one point over North Carolina A&T would have netted the same result as the 28 point win. Likewise, if the Hokies had been crushed by Duke on the road, it would not have damaged them any further in the RPI.
Per the formula, with six home victories on the season, Virginia Tech has only 3.6 wins in the eyes of the RPI. With one home loss and two road losses, Virginia Tech has 2.6 losses on the season. This is a simple situation of one lucky half court shot costing the Hokies a lot of RPI points. If that shot by Dukeís Sean Dockery had not gone in, you would add 1.4 to Techís win total, taking them to 5 total wins, and take off 0.6 from their losses, giving them just two losses. Thatís a huge difference, and could potentially make a difference in March.
As could the home loss to Bowling Green, which came when Techís A.D. Vassallo tipped a missed shot into Bowling Greenís basket as time expired. Add 0.6 to Techís win total, and subtract 1.4 from their loss total, and the Hokies are standing at 4.2 wins and 1.2 losses. Take away both fluky finishes, and Virginia Tech has 5.6 wins and 0.6 losses. So at the end of the season, if youíre wondering why the Hokies got left out of the NCAA Tournament and are hosting a first round NIT matchup against George Mason, think back to this edition of TSLMail and youíll know the answer.
The other thing holding Virginia Tech back is their terrible schedule. Six of Techís ten games have been against teams ranked 241 or below in the RPI ratings. The Hokiesí SOS (Strength of Schedule) is rated 258. A 3-6-2.6 record (remember, that is Techís record according to the RPI) with an SOS of 258 puts the Hokies at 162 in the latest RPI ratings. Two-thirds of the SOS is based on opponentsí winning percentage, and the other third is based on opponentsí opponentsí winning percentage. As you can see from the following table, those percentages arenít very high for Tech.
Taking it to another level, letís take a look at the conference RPI ratings. The Big Ten is currently ranked first in the RPI with a rating of 0.6045. They hold a fairly comfortable lead over the ACC, which has a rating of 0.5842. Despite the ACC winning the BigTen/ACC Challenge yet again, the RPI views the Big Ten as the better conference. The ACC is only narrowly ahead of the SEC. The SEC has a rating of 0.5835. The Missouri Valley Conference comes in at fifth, ahead of the Big 12 and narrowly behind the Big East.
Despite their low RPI rating, the Hokies find themselves ahead of Georgia Tech and Virginia. The Yellow Jackets are 3-3 on the season and are rated 233 by the RPI, with their SOS at 236. The Cavaliers are also 3-3 on the year and are rated 221 in the RPI with an SOS of 290. Florida State is ranked 86 in the RPI, and their SOS of 310 is the lowest in the ACC. The Seminoles are 5-1 on the season.
There are some very interesting early season RPI rankings. Ohio State is ranked #1, despite only beating one team ranked in the top 100. Missouri State is #3 in the nation after knocking off Northern Illinois, Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Oral Roberts. UNC-Wilmington, 7-1 on the season, is #9 in the RPI thanks in part to a thrilling 59-51 victory over winless Elon. Indiana State is 3-0 and #10 in the RPI despite their SOS being rated at 207.
One other notable team that ranks ahead of Virginia Tech is 1-2 Troy. The Trojans have played Quinnipiac, Columbia and SE Louisiana. Because those teams have combined for an 11-4 record, the Trojansí SOS is rated #6 in the nation.
Now keep in mind that these numbers will even out as the season progresses and everyone begins conference play. Every year there are teams that make it to the Big Dance because of their RPI, and there are others who donít make it despite a higher RPI than another at-large team that made the field of 65. The Selection Committee should either use it or lose it. If they are going to use it, then the top 34 teams in the RPI that did not win their conference tournament should get an at-large bid. If they donít use it in that manner, then they should kick it to the curb.
David Haskins. David (who won at Level 1) won a $50 gift certificate to Kroger, just for playing the Kroger "Pro Challenge" football game on our web site.
You can play Kroger's "Pro Challenge" football game for a chance to win $1,000.
Once you're at the Pro level, you can play and enter a sweepstakes drawing. First prize is $1,000 cash! Second prize is $250 cash! All Pro contestants have the same chance to win the cash prizes.
For playing at ANY level, you can enter a random drawing for a $50 gift card, with one card given away each week.
Get one of the ten highest scores, and you'll be given the chance to enter your initials, which are displayed at the beginning of every game.
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