RPI Impact Report heading into Purdue Series

Breakdown of RPI impact of final B1G home series

By Carl James @jovian34 May 12th, 2023

What is the goal?

Indiana is trying to secure an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in case the Hoosiers do not win the automatic bid by winning the Big Ten (B1G) Tournament. For this exercise I am going to use both NCAA RPI and RPI+, a metric that includes factors the NCAA Committee often considers beyond just RPI.

What RPI rank is needed?

To figure the needed RPI, we need to calculate how many at-large range bids there will be. The tournament has 64 teams, 30 of which are automatic qualifiers. Looking at RPI+ it is clear that at least 17 of those automatic bids will be awarded to teams that would not qualify any other way. That gives us a starting point of 47 bids.

47 bids is probably too high. The bids of the 13 other conferences in a perfect world, will go to a team that is already slated for an at-large bid. If a team outside the at-large range wins one of these automatic bids it is called a “stolen bid” and effectively reduces the RPI target rank to get into the NCAA Tournament. I have broken them down into three risk categories:

Low Risk (3 – format highly favors at-large teams):

  • ACC (six in top-15 plus a tourney format that favors four highest seeds)
  • Big West (No conference tournament)
  • SEC (seven in top-15)

Moderate Risk (4 – lots of at-large teams):

  • Big 12 (five in top-50)
  • Big Ten (four in top-45)
  • Pac-12 (five in top-45)
  • Sun Belt (no 12 Coastal Carolina, no. 24 So Miss, no. 30 Texas State, no. 32 Troy)

High Risk (6 – one clear at-large vs the field):

  • American (no. 20 East Carolina)
  • Big East (no. 18 UCONN, with possibly no 45 Xavier)
  • Big South (no. 21 Campbell)
  • Colonial (no 29. Northeastern, with possibly no. 48 Elon)
  • Conference USA (no 22. Dallas Baptist)
  • Missouri Valley (no. 16 Indiana State)

To be conservative, let’s say half of the high and moderate risk bids are stolen, and none of the low risk bids are stolen. That comes to 5 stolen bids, reducing the 47 at-large range bids down to 42. The goal for Indiana is to still to be in the top-42.

Where are the Hoosiers now and what are the potential impacts of the Northwestern Series?

Indiana is ranked 31st in RPI and 29th RPI+.

Per WarrenNolan.com, here are the RPI rank changes depending on results of the Purdue Series:

  • 3-0 Series Sweep: remain 31st
  • 2-1 Series Win: drop to 36th
  • 1-2 Series Loss: drop to 46th
  • 0-3 getting swept: drop to 54th

Indiana clearly wants a series win here as a series loss puts the Hoosiers squarely on the bubble, with serious work to do, although the remainder of the schedule is more helpful.