Big 12 Baseball

Pete Hughes Says NCAA Baseball’s RPI Has a ‘Geographical Bias’

Kansas State Baseball head coach Pete Hughes.

On Friday, Kansas State head coach Pete Hughes criticized the use of RPI ahead of the Wildcats matchup against Louisiana Tech in the Fayetteville Regional, mentioning that the metric has a “geographical bias.”

While Hughes believes that the teams located in Kansas State’s region logistically make sense, the programs’ RPI is low enough that it could have contributed to the Wildcats missing the postseason.

“There’s a geographical bias,” Hughes said. “We are so limited in Kansas with our non-conference mid-week opponents, and sometimes those opponents do not have a strong RPI. So do we play who’s in our region, non-conference mid-week, and then get hit Memorial Monday because our RPI and strength of schedule aren’t up to specs? Or do we get in a plane, cost thousands of dollars, and get our kids out of class in the midweek, just so we can manipulate the RPI numbers and strength of schedule? That’s what we chose to do. Until the system changes, we’ll continue to schedule that way.”

To Hughes’ credit, the team went out of their way to schedule a tough strength of schedule and avoid games against low-ranking teams in the RPI which helped the Wildcats slip into the 2024 NCAA Tournament field.

While it’s not guaranteed that the Wildcats’ RPI and strength of schedule were the difference-makers that Kansas State needed to sneak into the tournament field, the team earned a bit with a worse conference record and overall record than the previous season when they were snubbed.

Kansas State takes the field in Game 1 of the Fayetteville Regional on Friday, May 31st, at 7:00 PM CT against Louisiana Tech.

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