Red Wolves have few chances to cut down their NET

Remember RPI (Rating Percentage Index)? We hated it because RPI was rarely kind to Arkansas State basketball. Apparently, we weren’t alone in our disdain because the metric was replaced with the NCAA Evaluation Tool (conveniently NET) in 2018. It is, per the NCAA, the primary selection tool for the seeding process for the NCAA’s men’s March Madness tournament.

Bear in mind that NET is determined by the Team Value Index (TVI), which is a result-based feature that rewards teams for beating quality opponents, particularly away from home, as well as an adjusted net efficiency rating, which is adjusted for strength of opponent and location (home/away/neutral) across all games played. 

I don’t speak Nerdish, but it sounds like teams are rewarded for playing tough programs at their gyms and are docked for sitting at home playing patsies. Supposedly, NET was implement to encourage blue-blood programs to venture outside their comfort zones. I guess we’ll see.

In the meantime, the NCAA has just released its first round of NET rankings, which confirms my belief that South Alabama is really good this year.

TeamNET (Dec 6)
South Bama68
Texas State76
Geogia Southern133
Coastal Carolina141
Georgia State176
Appalachian State184
Arkansas State229
UA Little Rock310
UA Little Rock, are you OK?

The Red Wolves are right as projected – in the middle of the pack. What’s unfortunate is that aside from an away game with Texas Tech (we just missed you, Chris Beard), Arkansas State has little opportunity to see their NET standings improve before conference play begins on December 30.

Miss. Valley356A
Texas Tech38A
Air Force198H
Champion BaptistNAH
Champion Baptist has been the breakfast of champions for the SBC this season

How does 7-1 Air Force rank so low in NET? Well, they have a solid-ish, 1-point road win over Tulsa, and six wins at home to programs like Holy Cross and Bethune Cookman. The Falcons have one more road game (Montana) before facing the Red Wolves in the F’N Bank Arena.

Meanwhile, the only game that moves the NET for A-State is a looming game with 6-1 Texas Tech in Lubbock. The Red Raiders will have played one true road game (a loss to Providence) before the Red Wolves visit on December 14. So much for NET pushing programs out of their own gym!

Something for sharper minds to ponder: Red Wolves face Mississippi Valley (356 NET) before heading to Lubbock. Red Raiders get Tennessee (11 NET).

Photo Credit: MINE!