Thursday, December 2, 2010

What is RPI, SOS, and this other basketball stuff?

As football season wraps up, our collective heads (well, some of us) now turn to the hardwood. (Ha, did you like how I included the part of our website title in that sentence...very clever). So, as the season goes along you will hear ESPN basketball analysts say things like, "well, they need to win these tough out of conference games so their RPI and SOS will be high come tournament time." What is OOC, RPI, and SOS you might ask.....that's why I'm here:

Out of conference games
: Pretty obvious. All non conference (in our case non-SEC games) that a team plays. These are important because the NCAA tournament selection committee puts a lot of stock in not only who a team plays, but how they do against these teams. Remember, coaches can schedule whatever non-conference games they want, and historically the selection committee rewards teams that play tough schedules. (You might remember Virginia Tech last year getting "snubbed" (by Bobby Knight and Dickie V's standards) because they went 11-5 in ACC play....but their best non conference victory, yeah.):

RPI: Not to be confused with RIP, which is what some might say to our football team. No, RPI stands for "Ratings Percentage Index". The formula goes like this:
  1. 25% of your team's winning percentage, plus
  2. 50% of your opponents' combined winning percentage, plus
  3. 25% of your opponents' opponents' combined winning percentage
Sounds confusing but what you get is a number that looks like a winning percentage. For instance, last year, UGA's RPI rating was .5344, which ranked 106 in the nation.

SOS: Stands for "Strength of Schedule". It is basically the second part of the RPI formula: 2x opponent's combined winning percentage + 1x opponents' opponents' combined winning %

The selection committee not only looks at these numbers, but looks at things like "how did your team do against teams ranked in the RPI top 100. etc." These are sometimes called "quality wins". The more quality wins the better.

Bracketology: The cutesy name that media people use to describe the process of trying to predict what teams need to do in order to make the tourney.

These RPI numbers are the primary (whether they admit it or not) rankings/ratings used by the selection committee. So, as the season goes along we'll keep you updated on where the Dawgs stand and where/what they need to do to impress to selection committee.

(Good reference sites: Bracketology101 and ESPN Bracketology. You can also check our for daily updated RPI ratings.)

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