We’re at the beginning of Pac 12 play and it’s time to take a way-too-early look at Washington’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament this March with an RPI Watch and Bracketology Check.
The Huskies, 10-4 overall and 2-0 in conference, have an RPI Rank of 101 according to RealTimeRPI.com. They have a strength-of-schedule rank of 96. Yahoo! Sports lists Washington with an RPI of 87. According to ESPN’s Daily RPI tabulations they have an RPI of 76 and a strength of schedule of 90 and sit at 11th in the Pac 12 in RPI. Washington only is ahead of the Washington State, which has an RPI rank of 126. This time last year, the Huskies cracked the top 60 in RPI.
For those wondering, ESPN has Oregon with the highest RPI so far at 13. The Ducks are 11-3 with a strength of schedule of 14.
The Rating Percentage Index (RPI) is a measure of strength of schedule and how a team does against it. RPI is one of the determining factors when a team that does not get an automatic bid is weighed when the tournament committee considers at-large bids. The common formula for RPI is a weight of winning percentage plus opponents' winning percentage and opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage. Thus, there is the hope that teams you beat go on to have good seasons.
Based on the Huskies' rank, you may conclude that aside from a couple teams (Texas, Gonzaga, UCLA), the Huskies have not had a tough schedule. Moreover, the Huskies’ home losses to Oakland and UCSB probably did damage to their current rank. While we all thought Oakland might be a sleeper out of the Horizon, they are 9-6 and have an ESPN RPI rank of 135. UCSB was and is a bad team at 5-7 although they have an ESPN RPI rank of 53.
As for Bracketology, the Huskies are not in any of the big prognostications thus far.
Joe Lunardi does not list the Huskies, even as a bubble team. As for teams the Huskies played so far this year, Mount St. Mary’s (a team the Huskies destroyed this year), Montana, Texas, Gonzaga, and UCLA are in, according to Lunardi. USC is a bubble team. Lunardi lists 6 Pac 12 teams projected in: Arizona, Utah, UCLA, Cal, Oregon, and Arizona State.
SB Nation’s Chris Dobbertean does not have the Huskies in either. Similar to Lunardi, he has 6 Pac 12 teams in. Dobbertean names the same 6 Pac 12 teams except he has Arizona State as a bubble team and USC as in.
Jerry Palm’s CBS Bracketology does not list the Huskies, but has 8 Pac 12 teams as in. Palm includes Oregon State and Colorado as teams in the tournament. He projects Arizona State and UCLA in the First Four.
The good news for the Huskies is that they are off to a good start in the Pac 12 and own wins against two teams considered to be vying for the tournament. Moreover, it appears that the Pac 12 will be competitive this year, with a lot of good teams in the conference. So, the easy prescription for the Huskies to rise in RPI and be considered for the tournament is to just keep winning.