The Improved Selection Process Could Impact Mid-Majors Like The Mountain West
Nevada and Boise State could both receive a boost from the emphasis on quality road victories, metrics this season
The Mountain West is looking to bounce back from consecutive one-bid tournament seasons
For the first time in what seems like years, the Mountain West has received relatively encouraging NCAA Tournament news.
Immediate changes to the NCAA Tournament selection process could allow mid-majors like the Mountain West to punch more bids in future Selection Sundays. The NCAA has decided to do away with the old team sheet setup, which slotted results against top 50, top 100, top 200 and worse RPI opponents individually to determine the quality of each team’s resume.
Team sheets look relatively the same to the eye, but a higher emphasis on road and neutral results create a new setup for the team sheet categories. The breakdown of the team sheet categories are as follows:
- Column 1: Home 1-30, Neutral 1-50, Away 1-75
- Column 2: Home 31-75, Neutral 51-100, Away 76-135
- Column 3: Home 76-160, Neutral 101-200, Away 136-240
- Column 4: Home 161+, Neutral 201+, Away 241+
The Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) remains the source of the rankings of the team sheets, but new advanced metrics are introduced to better understand the quality of all 351 teams. The outdated RPI, which has been manipulated by many teams in the past, has been rumored to be obsolete by next season.
For now, however, each team sheet will have a metric average, which is a pure average of KenPom, BPI, and Sagarin rankings. Each of the three are advanced predictive ratings systems that are much stronger indications of team quality than RPI, which, as a result, is generally seen as a benefit to low- and mid-major conferences.
Nevada and Boise State, which will combine to play 13 road/neutral non-conference games this season, could receive more favorable outcomes for this year’s NCAA Tournament based on the recent changes. Head coaches Eric Musselman and Leon Rice are major proponents of the news.
“I love this new system,” Rice told NCAA.com. “I think power five schools will be more willing to play a good opponent on the road, given the increased value.”
“This is going to help teams like Nevada because it puts a premium on scheduling and winning games outside of your building,” Musselman added. “We have to play road games and we believe that with the new way the committee will look at a team’s resume that it helps even the playing field.”
Boise State beat Oregon in Eugene last Friday, which is a key victory for the Broncos that will likely remain a quadrant one victory at season’s end. Nevada plays both TCU and Texas Tech away from Reno this week, a major opportunity for the Wolf Pack to inch closer to at-large potential via non-home quality wins.