If all goes according to plan, by next March the NET worth of Tad Boyle's Colorado basketball team will spark an invitation to the NCAA Tournament.
On Wednesday, the NCAA announced a shift in the primary metrics used to evaluate credentials for the 68-team NCAA tourney. The Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), in play for over 35 years, no longer will be the primary barometer for inclusion, and seeding, in the tournament field.
Instead, the upcoming 2018-19 season will introduce the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET), which reorganizes some of the priorities of the RPI while adding new dynamics to the equation.
"Until we go through a season, and until we go through a selection process...we can see maybe where it helps, or does it make a change? Is it any different? We don't know," Boyle said. "I'm not a statistician. That's not my business. I thought the RPI was good in the sense that it took into account road games versus home games. Is the new metric going to be better? I don't know."
While playing good teams, and beating them, remains an unchanged core goal of any team's schedule, results will be evaluated somewhat differently beginning next season. Among the most significant changes is the NET will take into consideration such factors as offensive and defensive efficiency, the quality of wins and losses, and scoring margin (up to 10 points). The NET rankings will be in place immediately, with the first edition of the rankings set to be available by the end of the first month of the regular season either in late November or early December.
Using last season as an example, the Buffs' "neutral court" contest against Iowa in December might be evaluated differently under the NET system. With the RPI, that contest was labeled a neutral-court game with no wiggle room. Though the Buffs lost anyway, a victory in that situation under the NET system would include consideration of how the gym packed with Hawkeyes fans in Sioux Falls, S.D., essentially was a road game for CU.
"There is no perfect system. Is this going to be better? Let's wait and see," Boyle said. "Anything you come up with, you're going to have to figure out how you compare sixth place in the Pac-12 with, say, fifth place in the SEC? Or how do you a top-tier mid-major team with a middle-of-the-pack BCS team? Is this new metric going to help us do this? If the answer is yes, then it's a good thing."
Boyle said the Buffs have filled one of the two open vacancies for home dates the CU staff has been scrambling to confirm, though since the contracts have not been finalized yet he didn't disclose the team.
That leaves one home date to fill on a schedule already set to include Colorado State at home as well as road dates against Air Force, New Mexico, and San Diego. The Buffs also will play three games over Christmas at the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii, beginning with a contest against Indiana State followed by a game against either Hawaii or UNLV.
Boyle confirmed that Jakub Dombek, a freshman forward from the Czech Republic, arrived on campus earlier this month and is set to begin classes next week...Earlier this month, forward Evan Battey competed with the East Coast All-Stars under coach Larry Brown for a series of games in Italy.