B1G & NET ranking system

Owens guy

Walk On
Jan 20, 2015
There is a lot of talk here and nationally about how the B1G has so many teams with a good NET rating and how it will help them get 10+ teams invited to the tournament. My theory is the B1G has many good but not great teams and that the B1G conference was the first conference to figure out how to manipulate the NET system.

I live in Minnesota and have watched many B1G games and their teams are not so special as the NET rankings would have you believe. I have heard MN Coach Richard Pitino talk many times about how he is trying to get his team the best possible NET ranking. I believe remembering Pitino say the B1G even helped coaches this offseason understand the NET calculation better. Pitino also gave credit to Purdue for really attempting to maximizing their NET.

The five NET factors: Team Value Index, Net Efficiency, Winning Percentage, Adjusted Win Percentage and Scoring Margin.

There are two simple ways to improve your NET besides winning games:

Keep the games close. Pitino talks to his players about playing to the buzzer even in games already decided. If you lose a game by 9 points it is better for your NET than losing by 10 points as any loss by 10 points or more points is counted the same as losing by 20 points to not encourage teams to run up the score.

Non-conference scheduling is very important. MN scheduled several average to good teams on the road and neutral sites (Oklahoma neutral-lost by 9, at Butler-lost by 8, at Utah-lost by 4, Oklahoma St neutral-won). Purdue scheduled even better with playing Green Bay(win), Texas (lost by 4), FL St. (OT loss), Butler (lost by 9) and VCU (win) at neutral sites and went to Marquette (lost by 10) and Ohio (won) and at Virginia (win) too for ACC/B1G challenge.

Syracuse lost by 10+ points to all of their big non-conference games this year - (OK St and Penn St neutral, Iowa at home and at Georgetown).

Adjusted Win Percentage - This metric is a weighted value based on location and result.
Road Win: +1.4
Neutral Win: +1.0
Home Win: +0.6
Road Loss: -0.6
Neutral Loss: -1.0
Home Loss: -1.4 (Orange home losses this year are really hurting NET)

I look for the 2020-21 Syracuse schedule to have some games that make many fans scratch their heads as Syracuse attempts to work their schedule into a better potential NET. Of course you still have to win some non-conference games (or at least keep them close).


Living Legend
Feb 19, 2012
I think you are heading in the wrong direction here. First off the driver in this is not something Syracuse by itself can copy.

The Big10 was a very deep conference in the middle with very few bad teams. They performed well as a group before the end of December, and the NET like the RPI will have a multiplier effect on resumes come conference play when this occurs. Its not manipulation but more of a flaw in the metrics. The metrics really really work in a teams favour, if their home conference has very bad teams when conference play starts and many "good average" teams.

Even if they are all "good" average, the NET's build on themselves in conference play(like the RPI). The NET's keep moving up as a group, and basically an abnormal amount of games become Q1 (in the past top 50). And Q1 wins, like top 50 wins, are the most important driver of getting in the tourney.

We have seen this happen in the Big 12 some years. We saw it happen in the Pac 12 in 2016. We see it in the BIG this year. This deep middle / few bad teams has probably never happened in the ACC... the ACC has always had a larger % of bad teams than say the BIG this year, or the PAC12 in 2016, or the B12 in most years. But the ACC typically builds off elite teams.

Up course the multiplier effect works both ways. The BIG in 2018, PAC in 2017... the ACC in 2020. If you have a lot of bad teams in the conference, its really hard for a middle of the conference team to get a good resume... those teams start to look worse than they really are.

This is not something Syracuse can take advantage of. Syracuse can do little things to improve their own NET... perhaps other teams in the ACC can as well. But until you conference is really deep, only then can you accomplish what a middle BIG team has this year.

This is all very predictable be the time January 1 comes around. Each year I have a pretty good handle on # of teams by conference before conference play really starts.
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