And just like that, RPI is gone forever. Well, hopefully.
The NCAA announced earlier this week that starting with the 2020-21 season, Divison I women’s college basketball will begin using NET rankings to help determine the seeding for the Women’s Basketball Tournament.
Prior to this change, women’s basketball still used RPI (Ratings Percentage Index), which the men’s game got rid of before the start of the 2018-19 season. NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool) is different from RPI in that it “includes adjusted net efficiency and team value index”, which takes into account a whole different set of factors such as offensive efficiency and various aspects of each team’s schedule.
“It’s an exciting time for the game as we look to the future,” said Nina King, senior deputy athletics director and chief of staff at Duke, who will be chair of the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee in the 2020-21 academic year, according to NCAA.com. “We felt after much analysis that the women’s basketball NET, which will be determined by who you played, where you played, how efficiently you played and the result of the game, is a more accurate tool and should be used by the committee going forward.”
The press release put out by the NCAA reasoned that NET was superior to RPI because they “concluded the NET algorithm built exclusively for women’s basketball was an optimal ranking tool and should be used beginning with the coming season.” Here’s a graphic provided by the NCAA that helps explain how it all works.
The NET rankings that have come from the men’s side over the last two years have been met with some criticism, but it’s definitely a more modern tool than RPI was when looking at several different factors.