Understanding the NCAA Evaluation Tool

The National Collegiate Athletic Association adopted a ranking mechanism in the 2018 off-season to replace the Rating Percentage Index (RPI) that was used in choosing college basketball teams for the men’s Division 1 tournament. The NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) uses six metrics, namely:

• Previous game results

• Location- home, neutral site, or away

• Strength of the game schedule

• Scoring margin

• Quality of winning and losing

• Net defensive and offensive efficiency

Basketball teams with victory margins over 10 points do not receive additional credit. Overtime games are accorded 1 point as a scoring margin, no matter the real score. Again, all games are evaluated equally. No penalty or bonus applies whether the game is played before or during the season. In terms of the quality of wins and losses, the NCAA employs the quadrant system to classify individual losses and winnings. The quadrant system improves the selection process, while the NET is a paramount step to addressing the suggestions of the NCAA as received from the NABC committee.

How Reliable is the NCAA Evaluation Tool?

The NET model uses performance data and is optimized for accuracy. To ensure fairness, there are particular types of data that are disregarded when the NET model is in use. Some of the omitted details include the order of the game and the date. This gives equal importance to any game played during the early or late season. Furthermore, a 10-point cap is used in the winning margin to discourage unsportsmanlike plays by the rankings e.g., where scores are run-up in a situation where the results are predictable.

The NET is thus a modern approach to examining college basketball teams analytically with the help of predictive and result-oriented metrics. This has enabled basketball committees to review the games throughout the season effectively. The rankings can never be perfect, but the outcomes of previous tournaments guarantee an objective perspective towards the determination of those rankings.