January 3, 2013
RPI, the SEC and the NCAA Tournament
Conference play opens up for Missouri on Tuesday evening against Alabama. Prior to that, the Tigers have one more non-conference test against Bucknell. It is the time of year where everyone starts talking about seeds and bracketology and RPI (Ratings Percentage Index). Every game is now played under the microscope of, "What will this mean in March?"
Last season, Missouri ran up a 30-4 record, finished second in the Big 12 regular season standings and won the league tournament. But the Tigers were a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. North Carolina and Michigan State lost five and seven games, respectively, during the regular season, but found themselves as top seeds. In fact, Mizzou was deemed the weakest two seed by the committee due to a comparitively weak non-conference schedule and low RPI. The Tigers strength of schedule last season was 65th and their RPI was 12, despite being ranked as high as No. 3 in the final pre-tournament polls. Mizzou's schedule was the lowest-ranked of any team in the top 20 in the RPI and was the weakest of any major conference team's in the RPI top 50 outside of California.
That is the background. So now the question is how is this year's Tiger team stacking up in those areas?
Missouri is currently 11-and-2, ranked 12th in both major polls. The two losses are to Louisville (No. 4 in the polls, No. 8 in the RPI) and UCLA (unranked and No. 44). Despite that ranking, the Tigers stand just 35th in the most recent available RPI rankings.
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