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College Basketball RPI Rankings

In the world of college basketball there is a system for rating and ranking the members of the NCAA and this is referred to as the college basketball RPI ranking system.

RPI is an acronym for ranking power index or in some circles of college basketball is referred to as the real power index.

Regardless of what the words are that make the phrase RPI the bottom line is that this scoring matrix eventually leads to not only the selection of the March Madness basketball entries but also the seeding. RPI is a method of ranking college basketball teams based on the opponents that a team plays.

It is just one of many types of computer ranking systems that are used in the world of college basketball.

RPI Rankings for College Basketball

What’s different about the RPI rankings for college basketball is that there exists a concrete and well defined formula. The NCAA basketball selection committee uses the RPI as an aid to determine who will be invited to the big dance.

As discussed above the RPI rankings came about as the only way to fairly judge what teams are eligible to go to the big dance that is March Madness.

Big Dance

Originally, the only path to the tournament that determines the eventual National Champion was and still is through regular season conference titles or conference tournament titles. The only other avenue for entry into the NCAA tournament was/is an at-large bid.

The RPI rankings index evened the playing field for those schools that will year after year overachieve. These smaller teams normally were effectively locked out of the big dance by being small and underexposed nationally.

It is important to notate that the NCAA selection committee “adjusts” this ranking and the exact formula is a well-guarded secret.

Division I College Basketball Teams

The NCAA only uses the RPI ranking system for the Division I college basketball teams. With the strength of schedule along with other team factors the NCAA has been a relatively adequate tool of building a great March Madness basketball grouping.

NCAA Selection Committee

The RPI index did not come easily for the NCAA selection committee. As a matter of fact in 2005 there was a lot of confusion about the RPI index when it came down to selecting teams for the tournament. There was in use in 2005 12 ready teams’ formulas that caused chaotic nonsense in the field of selection.

Needless to say many coaches and universities and colleges were highly upset when their solid and deserving basketball team was shut out because of a mathematical equation. Instead of scrapping the entire program and going back to the selection by a few grizzled old sportswriters or retired coaches in a back room the NCAA did something great.

They unified and made it only one definition for the RPI index. Success at last!

RPI is Calculated by the NCAA Selection Committee

The RPI is calculated by the NCAA Selection Committee with three percentages that are assigned a specified weight. Based upon that weight and through a variety of other factors and formula ratios an RPI ranking can be achieved for each Division I team throughout the entire basketball season.

A good way to have a look at the RPI in action is to see the listing below. Notice how some of the perennial powers of the college basketball world are still in place. This proves that the RPI power index is true to its word and the formulation used is correct and valid.



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