Each year at this time sports fans become amateur mathematicians. We study RPI charts — there are dozens of different sites trying to mimic the NCAA official formula — and we break down strength of schedule numbers. We count up wins and losses against RPI top 50 teams. We eyeball obscure numbers like the rank of a team’s winning percentage (that data appears on the official team info sheets handed out to selection committee members). Some of us might go so far as to buy a slide rule and a compass.
One thing we’ve never seen, however, is a breakdown of multiple teams over multiple years using RPI. Which is why we’ve put together just such a list below.
For this exercise we’ll use ESPN’s RPI formula. We’ve looked at the data from the current season, the 2011-12 season, and the 2010-11 season in order to compare the best and worst SEC teams — according to ESPN’s computers — of the past three seasons. Since Missouri and Texas A&M weren’t playing SEC ball in two of those years, their squads from this season will be the only ones listed.
|1||Kentucky 2011-12||.6597||NCAA Tournament Champion|
|2||Florida 2010-11||.6438||Lost in Round of 8 NCAA Tournament|
|4||Kentucky 2010-11||.6334||Lost in Round of 4 NCAA Tournament|
|5||Vanderbilt 2010-11||.6203||Lost in Round of 64 NCAA Tournament|
|6||Vanderbilt 2011-12||.6117||Lost in Round of 32 NCAA Tournament|
|7||Florida 2011-12||.6041||Lost in Round of 8 NCAA Tournament|
|8||Tennessee 2010-11||.6031||Lost in Round of 64 NCAA Tournament|
|10||Georgia 2010-11||.5876||Lost in Round of 64 NCAA Tournament|
|11||Alabama 2011-12||.5870||Lost in Round of 64 NCAA Tournament|
|14||Ole Miss 2012-13||.5739||???|
|15||Ole Miss 2011-12||.5707||Lost in Round of 32 NIT Tournament|
|16||Alabama 2010-11||.5636||Lost in NIT Finals|
|18||Miss. State 2011-12||.5601||Lost in Round of 32 NIT Tournament|
|19||Ole Miss 2010-11||.5570||Lost in Round of 32 NIT Tournament|
|21||LSU 2011-12||.5518||Lost in Round of 32 NIT Tournament|
|22||Tennessee 2011-12||.5506||Lost in Round of 16 NIT Tournament|
|24||Texas A&M 2012-13||.5423||???|
|27||S. Carolina 2010-11||.5350||None|
|31||Miss. State 2010-11||.5146||None|
|33||S. Carolina 2011-12||.4823||None|
|35||S. Carolina 2012-13||.4740||???|
|36||Miss. State 2012-13||.4602||???|
* This year’s Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ole Miss teams are sitting squarely on what’s been the cut-off line for recent SEC teams hoping for NCAA at-large bids. This is just another example of how shaky their current situations are.
* The top seven teams on the list all belong to Florida (three), Kentucky (two), and Vanderbilt (two).
* The top 10 slots are filled by teams from the East Division (in football).
* Tony Barbee’s three teams at Auburn rank 32nd, 37th, and 38th on the list. Those numbers aren’t great for a man’s job security.