RPI Websites, As in “Ratings Percentage Irrelevant”


Today is the first of two sports geek holy days that occur every spring: NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Selection Sunday. The other is the first day of the NFL Draft, which happens on Saturday, April 26.

At 6:00 pm Eastern Time, we’ll find out who made the tournament field of 65. The magic number in the decision-making process is the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). In the Dark Ages, this mythical formula was kept secret. So, of course, a smattering of mathameticians and stat guys tried to simulate the NCAA numbers and published their own rankings on the web. Two of the more credible gurus are Jeff Sagarin and Jerry Palm. Sagarin’s are free, but Palm actually charges a few bucks.

Now, these sites are rendered useless because the NCAA publishes their numbers every Monday, and daily during the last week of the season. If there is a basketball analyst wannabe (don’t look at me!) who wants to predict who’s in and who’s out, or if there’s a moaner who wants to complain about their team getting left out (not me, either…none of my teams came close), why would they look at a simulation when they can get the numbers straight from the horse’s mouth?

OK, I admit that I’ll play “Dickie C” today and try to project the field from my living room. There’s only one site I’ll visit to get my numbers. Sorry, Jeff and Jerry. Your numbers just don’t matter to me anymore.

Two bold predictions before I even look at today’s RPI: The 31 conference tournament winners will get in, and New Jersey Tech will not!

I already got my free VIP Pass from CBS to watch and listen to games that I can’t get on the local TV stations.


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