Every year, we talk about how Kentucky gets screwed by the Selection Committee, but today, the NCAA made a change that actually makes sense. Today, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee announced they will place greater emphasis on road wins on each team’s resume. Now, where a game is played will have more importance than the ranking of the opponent. Road wins will count more, and, because the committee is factoring location into degree of difficulty, road losses won’t hurt as much; that’s welcome news for teams like Kentucky, where every game is the other team’s Super Bowl.
“We consulted with experts within the coaching and analytics fields who looked at historical data, based on winning percentages by game location, to come up with these dividing lines within each of the columns,” said Mark Hollis, the director of athletics at Michigan State and the current chair of the committee. “The emphasis of performing well on the road is important, as was the need for teams not to be penalized as much for road losses. Beating elite competition, regardless of the game location, will still be rewarded, but the committee wanted the team sheets to reflect that a road game against a team ranked 60th is mathematically more difficult and of higher quality than a home game versus a team ranked 35th. We feel this change accomplishes that.”
The Committee also pledged to study more metrics to evaluate teams, such as KenPom, Sagarin, KPI, and BPI ratings. Currently, the RPI is the only metric used on team sheets. John Calipari and other coaches have argued for the committee to use a composite ranking of all of the metrics for a fairer evaluation. There’s a bit of dissent on that topic, so the committee will continue to look at it in hopes of having the new system ready for the 2018-19 season.
Baby steps, but at least they’re ones in the right direction.