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NCAA ditches RPI for new evaluation tool to select tournament teams

The NCAA is ditching the RPI for its own evaluation tool to select teams for the NCAA Tournament.

The NCAA Evaluation Tool will rely on game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin, net offensive and defensive efficiency and quality of wins and losses. NET will be used for the 2018-19 season by the committee that selects schools and seeds the tournament.

NET rankings will be released in late November or early December and updated through Selection Sunday, with a final ranking following the tournament.

“What has been developed is a contemporary method of looking at teams analytically, using results-based and predictive metrics that will assist the Men’s Basketball Committee as it reviews games throughout the season,” NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said in a statement on Wednesday. “While no perfect rankings exist, using the results of past tournaments will help ensure that the rankings are built on an objective source of truth.”

The NCAA has used the RPI since 1981 to help the NCAA Tournament selection committee pick at-large teams, seeding and bracketing teams each March.

The RPI has been criticized in recent years for not being analytical enough. The RPI is calculated on winning percentage, strength of schedule and opponent’s strength of schedule, but more accurate tools for evaluating performance have developed.

NET will give equal importance to early and late-season games, and caps wins at 10 points to prevent teams from running up the score.

NET was approved in July following months of consultation with the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, the National Association Basketball Coaches, top basketball analytics experts and Google Cloud Professional Services.

Last season, the NCAA introduced a quadrant system to put greater emphasis on wins away from home. The quadrant system will remain in place for evaluating teams.

The NCAA said the RPI will still be used in other Division I sports, including women’s basketball.