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Behind the Bracket: NET, RPI and the usual Selection Sunday arguments

Kansas feels like two different teams when evaluated through RPI or NET. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Since it came into our lives in late August, the angst over the new NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) has been never-ending. Allow me to summarize the most common refrains:

  • The RPI had to go, but NET isn't any better (as a selection and seeding tool).

  • NET is fundamentally flawed as a metric because of its emphasis/de-emphasis of (fill in your favorite/least favorite components here).

  • NET encourages coaches to run up the score on overmatched opponents in games already decided.

  • The end of the RPI will mean the end of Bracketology.

Actually, hardly anyone made the last statement (and apparently Bracketology is still alive and well). But the other comments continue to hover over the current season in ways that might or might not be suitably reconciled on Selection Sunday.

My take? I've intentionally held back for the simple reason that we didn't know enough. Yes, I thought the rollout of NET at the end of the summer was unfair, to the extent that the vast majority of 2018-19 scheduling was completed. And the too-early release of the first NET rankings this season was done without proper context, creating several weeks of avoidable criticism.