RPI Impact Report heading into Xavier

Breakdown of RPI impact of road midweek

By Carl James @jovian34 May 10th, 2023, photo of Phillip Glasser running by Zach Greene

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 vy 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 16 of those automatic bids will be awarded to teams that would not qualify any other way. That gives us a starting point of 48 bids.

48 bids is probably too high. The bids of the 14 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 (5 – lots of at-large teams or leader on the bubble):

  • Big 12 (five in top-50)
  • Big Ten (four in top-45)
  • Pac-12 (five in top-45)
  • Southern (bubble team no. 53 Wofford trending downward)
  • 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)

Wofford is trending down, but I’m keeping that moderate risk for now. To be conservative, let’s say over half of the high risk bids are stolen, slightly less than half of the moderate risk bids are stolen, and none of the low risk bids are stolen. That comes to 6 stolen bids, reducing the 48 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 33rd in RPI and 31st in RPI+.

Per WarrenNolan.com, here are the RPI rank changes depending on results on tonight’s game at Xavier:

  • Win: improve to 29th
  • Lose: drop to 34th

The impact of loss from a raw RPI perspective is negligible, while the potential gain from a victory is moderately significant, which is mathematical support for having added this contest to the schedule last week. This game is not by any means a must win, but would put the Hoosiers in a stronger position if they do win it. It would improve Indiana’s road record to 12-9 and would be a Quad-2 win, possibly a Quad-1 if Xavier finishes the season strong.