NCAA releases first official RPI rankings: Duke #1, Indiana #16
The RPI - "Rating Percentage Index" - is a formula that is used by the NCAA to rank teams. It is designed to take into account strength of schedule as well as a team's win-loss record. These rankings are an important consideration for the selection committee when it comes to doling out at-large bids for the NCAA tournament. The rankings have only been publicly available since 2006.
Because of the formula behind the rating system, there are usually discrepancies between these rankings and the AP or other Coaches Polls.
One discrepancy in this first RPI release is that of the Indiana University Hoosiers. The Hoosiers were ranked as the top team in the country going into the season and held that position until a close loss to the Butler Bulldogs on the 15th of December in the "Crossroads Classic". The Hoosiers currently sit at 13-1 with that loss as the only blemish to their record and are ranked #5 in the AP Poll.
However, the RPI ranks the Hoosiers as the #16 team in the country. They have their beginning of the year "fluff" schedule to thank for that, with several other one and two loss teams (even a three-loss team) ahead of them.
The Big Ten has been ordained by many college experts as THE conference when it comes to college basketball this season with five teams ranked in the top fifteen according to the AP Poll, though the RPI has only three Big Ten teams in the top fifteen. The Hoosiers, as well as the rest of the Big Ten teams, will likely find this advantageous for boosting their strength of schedule, a key component in the RPI rankings.
A few other discrepancies worth noting:
RPI: Colorado #6; Miami (Fla.) # 8; Oklahoma #19 - all unranked in the AP Top 25
RPI: Kansas #2 (ahead of Michigan), #6 in the AP
RPI: Ohio State #42, #15 in the AP
RPI: Notre Dame #37, #17 in the AP
RPI : Georgetown #38, #19 in the AP