West Virginia Should be Ranked…Highly

According to the RPI (Rating Percentage Index), the West Virginia Mountaineers are the best college basketball team in the country.  According to the AP and coaches, they are not among the Top 25 teams.

The RPI is a quantity used to rank sports teams based upon a team’s wins and losses and its strength of schedule.  Prior to West Virginia’s win over a very good Rhode Island team, West Virginia’s strength of schedule was the 4th toughest in the nation and they remain undefeated.

The teams with a better strength of schedule than the Mountaineers (Kansas, Northern Arizona and New Orleans) all have losses. Why the RPI – clearly the most accurate and fair method of ranking teams – is no longer used is beyond me.

If the Associated Press and coaches aren’t using the RPI to base their decisions around, what exactly are they using to determine the rankings?  Clearly they aren’t watching every game and obviously many of the voters don’t have close, intimate knowledge of each team.  Voting seems much less technical than the RPI, and what amounts to a guessing game should not be what’s relied on.

The whole system of ranking teams is asinine.  Preseason rankings are particularly ridiculous and should be done away with.  Teams with unimpressive starts to the season are more highly ranked than the Mountaineers based entirely on the random, biased, uninformed judgments of the voters.

The beauty of West Virginia not being ranking is that it’s essentially meaningless, particularly at this time of the year.  With that said, the Mountaineers deserve to be not only be ranked in the Top 25 when the rankings are released tomorrow afternoon, they should be ranked highly.  The West Virginia Mountaineers, coming off a disappointing 15-21 season, is the most impressive team in the country to start the 2019-2020 season.