Now that we are approaching March Madness and Selection Sunday, we get to hear all of our favorite terms from bubble to RPI to home court heroes. Every selection committee has their own set of standards that they use for inclusion of teams into the tournament. Allow me to divulge what I’d use as the standard for getting into the Field of 68.
My ideal at-large team first has to have plenty of quality wins. Now the committee will tell you they want some of them on the road, but I don’t agree. Most teams are not playing at home in the tournament, so why penalize those who don’t have good road wins? Ideally I’d like to see two to three Top-50 wins with two to three more Top 100 RPI victories.
Next up, I want to see a non-conference schedule that was challenging enough. I don’t expect teams to go crazy, but they should challenge themselves enough. Ideally, I’d like to see them win those games, but understand that with a challenge comes some losses.
Finally, I’d consider the RPI. It’s ironic that I want to see teams get top 50 and 100 RPI victories, yet the actual number itself is towards the bottom of my list.
The biggest oddity involving the RPI is Belmont. The Bruins have an RPI of 26 overall, which is very good. Upon looking at their profile, their best win is at home against Middle Tennessee State with a win over Stanford being number two. They have a non-conference strength of schedule rank of five. A high RPI despite the lack of quality wins and plenty of fluff builders confuse me a bit.
Another outlier is Louisiana Tech, who is 22-3 with an RPI of 46. They are on the opposite end though as they’ve played the 219th toughest schedule. Their best win is over Southern Miss whose RPI is 39. Unlike Belmont though, they have a horrendous loss to McNeese State whose RPI is 248. The Bulldogs would never make my tournament even with the gaudy record.
The most discussed profile will be that of UVA. The Wahoos have wins over NC State, Wisconsin and North Carolina with the Badgers win on the road. They also have losses to awful Old Dominion, Delaware and Georgia Tech. They played the 320th toughest non conference strength of schedule. They don’t make it in either right now, but still have some chances ahead.