Hey, sports bettors, It may not be September, but it is time to go back to school. And we don’t mean that 1980’s movie with Rodney Dangerfield; we mean college. Today at MyTopSportsbooks university, you are going to earn your degree in NET rankings for NCAA Division I men’s and women’s basketball. There will be no mid-term paper to write, nor will there be a final exam, just an article to educate you to help you make smarter college basketball bets before the NCAA tournament. (You get some practice betting before the March Madness tournament, where your success will determine your grade in the class). Let’s look at the ranking system to unravel the mystery of who is the biggest dog on the block and how they got there.

Teams like Florida, Kentucky, Arizona, Tennessee, Kansas, Alabama, Maryland, Purdue, Ohio State, San Diego, Gonzaga, Saint Mary, Indiana, Miami, North Carolina, Utah, Michigan, Louisville, and Jacksonville are all fighting for supremacy. Not to be forgotten is Seattle, Pittsburgh, Portland, UCLA, the Illini of Illinois, Georgia, Missouri, Boston College, Baylor Auburn, Oregon, Iowa, BYU, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Loyola USC, Colorado, Texas Tech, Memphis and New Mexico are fighting to get to the top tier of men’s basketball standings.

Teams that round out the power rankings include Duke, UAB, West Virginia, UCONN, and the Phi Slamma Jamma boys from Houston. Buffalo, Detroit, San Francisco, and Sam Houston come in the dark horse division, which poses difficulties for top-tier teams.

Explaining NET Rankings

NET rankings are used in college basketball as a tool for team evaluation. It was developed by the NCAA – a sophisticated algorithm – that is proprietary to the NCAA. The NET rankings are updated daily and appear on sites like NCAA.com and NCAA.org or online sportsbooks and casinos that do business in the area of college basketball betting. As a sorting tool, NET rankings help the NCAA selection committee select at-large bids for the March Madness tournament.

The tool doesn’t set the tourney seedings for brackets; that is another story for another day. The way tournament bids are birthed is simple, win your conference getting an automatic tournament bid. To fill out the brackets, the selection committee looks to the best of the rest.

While many of the secondary teams selected might have high NET rankings, it isn’t a predictor for a tournament berth, nor does it determine tournament seeding. Some teams will squeak in with poor NET rankings, while others with solid rankings might be playing in the NIT come March.

What are Net Rankings in NCAA Basketball?

NET Rankings and RPI

The predecessor to NET rankings was the Rating Percentage Index (RPI), which was replaced due to flaws in the index system. Previously, the RPI used winning percentage, the strength of schedule, and opponents’ strength of schedule to calculate positioning. In effect, the system was regressive for teams in weaker conferences because it punished teams that played weaker opponents compared to other conferences.

NET Rankings, How Are They Calculated?

Because the rankings system is a trade secret for the NCAA, little is known about the calculations that go into the ranking system. Two things we do know about the system, net efficiency and the team value index, determine a part of the rankings.

Net Efficiency

  • Offensive Efficiency (pts per possession); defensive efficiency (pts allowed per possession)
  • Strength of schedule
  • Game location (home/away/neutral site)

Value Index

  • Based on Wins and Losses
  • Opponent + Location + Winner =
  • Value Index Score

To get to net efficiency, you must factor in a number of variables; here is the equation:

Shot attempts + offensive rebounds + turnovers + foul shots (47.5 attempts) = total number of possessions. Total points/total possessions = offensive efficiency.

For defensive efficiency, the equation works this way: opponent shot attempts + opponent’s offensive rebounds + opponent’s turnovers + plus opponent foul shots (47.5 attempts) = total number of opponent possessions. Opponent total points/total number of opponent possessions = defensive efficiency.

Then you subtract defensive efficiency from offensive efficiency, and you have the net efficiency rating.

What is the Team Value Index?

TVI is a reward system built in the rankings for teams that play and beat teams with higher NET rankings. The system only looks at games against Division I opponents and uses opponent/location/winner for a TVI score. The strength of schedule plays a role in TVI, but for the NCAA, the size of the impact on the overall ranking is secret.

What is the Quadrant System?

While it might be the dinosaur of ranking systems, it is still in use to determine tournament seedings and selections for the big dance. The NET system sorts teams into tiers from I – IV in quadrants. The women’s selection process differs, and location doesn’t factor in.

Can I Use the NET Rankings System to Compare Teams?

In men’s Division I basketball, 350 teams play; in women’s Division I, 354 teams play basketball. What makes for question marks in the ranking systems is teams play outside their conference and may not share common opponents. That makes it hard to get an accurate comparison of apples to apples.

The NET system should be able to help sports bettors because it will tell them how a team performs against quality opposition – like the kind they will face during March Madness. For a team comparison, look at wins in Quad I and losses in Quad III and IV. If a Quad I team has a number of losses against Q III and IV, it tells you that they play to the calibre of opposition. If you look at a lower NET-ranked team with Quad I wins, you might see a tournament upset in the making.