Many schools don't get it right

Originally Published: November 10, 2004
By Fran Fraschilla | ESPN Insider
I am never going to be confused with an MIT graduate so I will leave the science of the RPI to ESPN's Professor of Bracketology, Joe Lunardi. Instead, let me offer up a coach's perspective on the artistry that goes into building a schedule that positions a good team to gain an NCAA bid.

First of all, you must play as many games as you can against the nation's top 150 teams. If you are in the top six "power conferences," the chances are that all of your conference games will qualify here. Even losses can help here when it is against a ranked team in your league. Florida State's RPI goes up with a loss to Duke -- and, conversely, drops with a win over Stetson.

Next, you want to play the best teams you can in a low- or mid-major league. It makes no sense to win a lot of non-conference games against teams so far down the RPI you need a telescope to find them. Missouri plays Murray State at home on Nov. 28 and should win the game. Then the Tigers will root for the Racers to win 28 games again this year. Murray State, a recognizable name to the NCAA selection committee, will finish at the top of the Ohio Valley Conference and should end with an RPI under 100.
Fran Fraschilla is a college basketball analyst for ESPN. He formerly was the head coach at Manhattan, St. John's and New Mexico.