The R.P.I. stands for the "Rating Percentage Index," and it was apparently created many years ago, but has just become more widely-known in the last few years.
When I say "widely-known," this is not to imply that any rational person has any idea just what the RPI is, or how it is derived, because I don't think that is the case.
Here, from a March 5th Washington Post column, is one man's definition and explanation of the RPI:
"The Rating Percentage Index is a mathematical measurement of a team's strength.
The NCAA tournament selection committee uses it to help determine which 34 teams will receive at-large bids. The formula consists of a team's winning percentage against Division I opponents (25 percent), the opponents' average winning percentage (50 percent) and the opponents' opponents' average winning percentage (25 percent).
Road victories are multiplied by 1.4 in the portion of the formula that deals with a team's winning percentage, while home victories are multiplied by 0.6.
A team with an RPI that is in the top 40 is in fairly good shape to earn an NCAA tournament invitation. A team with an RPI that is 50th or worse is in danger of being excluded."
There - understood, class?
Here are the RPI "standings," as of March 10:
Top Twenty teams:
|2 - North Carolina|
|3 - Memphis|
|4 - Duke|
|5 - Texas|
|6 - UCLA|
|7 - Georgetown|
8 - Kansas
|9 - Xavier|
|10 - Vanderbilt|
|11 - Louisville|
12 - Drake
|13 - Wisconsin|
|14 - Connecticut|
|15 - Michigan St.|
|16 - Stanford|
18 - Butler
|19 - Notre Dame|
|20 - BYU|
FYI, Davidson is #41, Syracuse 45, Ohio State 47, Kentucky 48, UNI 127, Iowa State 170, and Iowa 185 in the RPI "standings."
Compare this to the lates
|AP Poll:||or the Coaches' Poll:|
1.North Carolina 1.North Carolina
3.UCLA 3. Memphis
5.Kansas 5. Kansas
6.Texas 6. Wisconsin
7.Duke 7. Duke
8.Wisconsin 8. Texas
9.Georgetown 9. Georgetown
14.Notre Dame 14.Notre Dame
19.Michigan State 19.Mich. State
To me, though the actual rankings vary a little from poll to poll, each poll's Top 20 contains virtually the same teams. So why bother with the RPI - just have the NCAA consult with sports writers and coaches pick the teams. I say R.I.P., R.P.I.
And while we're at it, let's just do away with rankings by anyone, in any sport, at least until mid-to-late season, anyway. Why rank teams in pre-season or the early going?