Etheridge: Weekly RPI BreakdownAnalysis
The RPI report is out. Just the mention of those three letters “R-P-I” spurs a reaction for many. Some will yell and state their case that the rating is useless. They comment that they can watch the teams and tell you who is best. Others counter that you need some sort of objective rating because no one can watch every team play every game. Plus, there are 297 Division I programs across this great big country of ours. Most of them do not face each other during each club’s 56 game season.
We need some way to compare resumes of teams. Head-to-head should matter, but it can’t be the sole measure. Baseball can be a sport prone to upsets and even the best teams have double-digit losses. The base RPI provides a way to use winning percentage and opponents winning percentage and your opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage. That rating is then adjusted for road games (wins are 1.3/losses are 0.7) and home games (0.7/1.3). We can debate the accuracy of the RPI, or if there is another formula that is more representative of a team’s strength. However, what is not up for debate is what the NCAA Selection Committee is tasked with using. They use the RPI, thus so shall we.
This early in the season, some conferences are yet to open league play, the rankings can be volatile. In this space each week, we will evaluate and analyze the shifts as teams rise and fall. Below are my observations of the RPI rankings for games ending March 20.