The initial release last season of the NCAA’s new NET raised eyebrows across the college basketball world. So, the NCAA waited an extra three weeks this season before debuting the rankings.
Like last year, Ohio State is the first No. 1 in the NET. But while last year’s Buckeyes ranking was used as an argument against the new system — along with Loyola Marymount at No. 10 and Radford at 22 — having Ohio State atop this season’s initial rankings squares with other ratings systems.
The Buckeyes, ranked fourth in Monday’s AP Top 25, are No. 1 at KenPom.com and No. 4, according to USA Today’s Sagarin ratings. Ohio State led a list of 12 Big Ten teams in the NET’s top 61 (Nebraska was 153rd and Northwestern 174th).
Check Out More NCAA Content Here
Although the NET, which replaced the RPI, was much-maligned when it was released last season, its initial rankings held up pretty well. Nine of the top 10 teams made the NCAA Tournament, with three — Virginia, Texas Tech and Michigan State — advancing to the Final Four.
The nation’s 353 Division teams — and wins and losses — are broken into four quadrants. To earn a Quadrant 1 win, for instance, a team must beat a top-30 team at home, a top-50 team at a neutral site or a top-75 opponent on the road.
Quadrants 2-4 break down like this:
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 NCAA had been made aware, according to the website MLive.com, of some mistakes on team sheets in the first release of the ratings. The issues were resolved later Monday. Expect the NET, like it did last year, to improve as the season progresses.
Tennessee at Cincinnati: Head coach John Brannen’s first season at Cincinnati has gotten off to a rocky start. The Bearcats are 6-4 after losing back-to-back games, including a home loss to Colgate (do a Google search for video of the baffling conclusion of that one).
Cincinnati hasn’t shot the ball well from the free-throw line or from long range, and the Bearcats have turnover problems. Brennan said his team had committed the third-most unforced errors (turnovers not involving steals); according to KenPom, the Bearcats are 324th of 353. TENNESSEE
SMU at Georgia: Georgia likes to keep the tempo humming. The Bulldogs are very efficient shooting from 2-point range. Their long-range shooting numbers aren’t good, but they don’t launch from deep all that much.
The Mustangs don’t typically play at Georgia’s pace, but they shoot the ball well, especially from the free-throw line, and they’re pretty good at getting to the stripe. OVER
Kansas at Villanova: Both these teams enter with top-12 offenses, but the Jayhawks are also elite on the defensive end (No. 9, nationally). The Wildcats can score points (the over is 7-3 in their games), but their two losses — to Ohio State and Baylor — came against top-10 defenses. KANSAS
Eastern Washington at Gonzaga: The Eagles, who are 6-3 and beat Belmont last month, like to run and gun even more than the Bulldogs (Eastern Washington made 50 of 67 2-point shots while piling up 146 points against an overmatched NAIA opponent on Friday). They also figure to get a boatload of points in this one.
Obviously, Gonzaga is not Multnomah University. But might Christmas looming, could the Zags just be coasting into the holidays? EASTERN WASHINGTON
Last week: 1-3