With the ACC season just over a week away from beginning, its time to start caring about the dreaded RPI rating of the teams hoping to secure an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
As most of us know, the RPI is a terribly flawed and easily manipulated system for determining team strength. It also, for the time being, remains one of the major tools the selection committee uses when picking the tournament field. It matters, we have to pay attention to it, and unfortunately for the ACC the league is not in a good place when it comes to the RPI going into league play.
Here are the current RPI rankings, courtesy of RealTimeRPI:
The league currently has half its members with an RPI over 100. This season there are, and we'll be generous here, three teams in the sub-100 group that might still be good enough to earn an at-large bid. Virginia, Virginia Tech and Florida State all could potentially climb out of the hole and get an at-large bid. But history is not on their side.
Going back through the last decade, only one ACC team has secured a bid after finishing the non-conference season with a sub-100 RPI. That was Clemson in 2011, a team which climbed from the 130s all the way up to 57th in the RPI rankings by Selection Sunday. That, along with a winning conference record and a tie for fourth place in the league, was just enough to secure a bid as one of the 'last four in' as a 12-seed.
It might seem crazy with less than half the season completed, but the league has already limited itself to probably a maximum of five bids with its OOC performance.