This week, Washington snapped a multi-year 6-game losing streak against Utah and jumped into solid contention for an NCAA Tournament “March Madness” invitation by beating the Utes on the road 69 – 53.
The NCAA adopted the NET (NCAA Evaluation Too) ratings system to replace the previous RPI (Rating Percentage Index) ratings.
Previously ranked the #54 team in the country by the NCAA’s NET ratings, Washington leaped 10 spots after defeating Utah this week to rank #44 nationally.
However, according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s most recent Bracketology update,Washington’s prognosis for March Madness is still firmly on life support.
Lunardi groups the Huskies in the second four teams out of the tournament meaning the Dawgs would not get a March Madness invite nor even participate in a play-in game.
The discrepancy between the NCAA’s objective formula rankings and Lunardi’s analysis underscores the imperfect science of bracketology.
Lunardi’s analysis likely gave less credit to the Huskies for their road victory over the Utes because Utah was barely a NET Top 100 team (97th) at the time–Utah has since tumbled to #114.
However, the NCCA’s NET formula for basketball rankings weighs road victories more favorably, as well as victories by 10 or more points.
Washington’s current #44 NET ranking positions the Huskies for a March Madness at-large bid, however, at-large bids are the most political part of the NCAA selection committee’s process.
The Huskies need to continue their rise up the rankings to the NET Top 40, at a minimum, and show some staying power to convince human decision-makers that have the final say on Washington’s NCAA tournament selection.
There are no guarantees — unless the Huskies win the PAC-12 Tournament–but if Washington continues to consistently raise their performance the Dawgs will remain in the hunt for NCAA postseason play. Go Dawgs!