The NCAA Net Ratings made their debut on Monday. The ratings are important to the Big 12 as NCAA Tournament committees will use them to select the 68-team field for both the men’s and women’s tournaments come March.
How important? Per the NCAA:
Since the NET rankings serve as the primary sorting tool for Division I men’s basketball, they play an important role in establishing a team’s resume.
What are five key takeaways from the initial rankings? Let’s take a look below.
Eighty-Five percent of the Big 12 in the Top 100
When you combine the men’s and women’s teams in the Big 12, 17 of the 20 are in the Top 100 in NET rating, with Baylor (men, No. 6) and Texas (women, No. 4) leading the way. The three teams out of the Top 100? TCU’s men at No. 108, Oklahoma State’s women at No. 102 and TCU’s women at No. 156.
Parse it a little further and you’ll note that six of the men’s programs are in the Top 50 and seven of the women’s programs are in Top 50.
The takeaways is that barely a month into the season the Big 12, both men and women, are in great shape.
Kansas State women in Top 10
When the NET ratings were released on Monday, the Kansas State women were at No. 11. On Tuesday, the Wildcats were at No. 10. Why are the Wildcats ranked so high?
The quadrant system used by the NET ratings (see the note at the end of the article if you’re not familiar) helps. K-State (7-2) has two losses, and both were to Top 5 teams — NC State and South Carolina. The Wildcats get credit for those games as Quadrant 1 games, and likely will the rest of the season.
Among K-State’s seven wins, Abilene Christian’s NET rating is best at No. 125. That’s a Quadrant 3 game because the Wildcats beat ACU at home. In fact, all of K-State’s wins are Quadrant 3 or 4 … for now.
The quadrant system isn’t the only way teams are evaluated in NET. It also evaluates winning percentage, game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin, net offensive and defensive efficiency, and the quality of wins and losses.
All of this is encouraging for K-State, which has one more Top 25 NET team on its non-conference schedule in Oregon. The Wildcats are trying to get back to the NCAA Tournament after a two-year absence. A high NET rating, if they can maintain it, will certainly help their case.
The Big 12’s ‘future’ looks good
The NET ratings showed how strong the future Big 12 members are right now. On the men’s side, all four were in the Top 60, including Houston (No. 4), BYU (No. 20), Cincinnati (No. 42) and UCF (No. 60). On the women’s side, three were in the Top 75, including BYU (No. 24), UCF (No. 42) and Houston (No. 72). The only women’s team out of the Top 100 was Cincinnati (No. 272).
Tech should get NET benefit from Tennessee win
Texas Tech’s 57-52 win over No. 13 Tennessee in the Jimmy V Classic is a good example of how a game like that can help a team’s NET, even marginally. Tech was No. 37 in NET going into the game. The Red Raiders won the game, giving them a Quadrant 1 win. It was their second Quadrant 1 game of the season, and the Red Raiders have another one coming in non-conference when they face Gonzaga next week. Holding Tennessee to 52 points helps the Red Raiders’ defensive efficiency number, which is another part of NET. This is part of the reason why Big 12 teams, in spite of beating each other’s brains in for 10 weeks in conference, play games like this in non-conference. Win or lose, they help. Of course, it’s better if you win.
How much better for Tech? Because it was a neutral site win, the Red Raiders get a +1.0 weighted value for its overall adjusted win percentage.
The Texas women aren’t going anywhere
The Texas women were No. 4 in NET on Tuesday, the result of playing, perhaps, the most brutal schedule of any Big 12 team, men or women. While the Longhorns have played some low- and mid-major teams, they’ve also played Stanford (No. 9), Tennessee (No. 13) and Texas A&M (No. 17). Later in non-conference Texas will face Arizona (No. 7) and Princeton (No. 20). By Big 12 play, Texas will have faced five teams in the Net Top 20, with four of them either on the road or at a neutral site (and road wins carry a bit more weight in the formula). Texas should hold steady at the top of the NET ratings all season as a benefit of those non-conference tests.
Using the quadrant system the quality of wins and losses will be organized based on game location and the opponent’s NET ranking.
Quadrant 1: Home 1-30, Neutral 1-50, Away 1-75
Quadrant 2: Home 31-75, Neutral 51-100, Away 76-135
Quadrant 3: Home 76-160, Neutral 101-200, Away 135-240
Quadrant 4: Home 161-353, Neutral 201-353, Away 241-353
The number of Quadrant 1 wins and Quadrant 3/4 losses will be incredibly important when it comes time for NCAA tournament selection and seeding.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.