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Projecting the NCAA Division I men's field
by Paul Kennedy, November 2nd, 2007 8:30AM

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TAGS:  college men

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The NCAA has released its second RPI for NCAA Division I men's teams.

The RPI -- Ratings Percentage Index -- is the most important of the criteria it uses to determine the 48-team field for the NCAA Division I Men's Tournament. The RPI is a mathematical formula designed to objectively compare results and strength of schedule.

On Monday, Nov. 19, the day after the end of the regular season, the NCAA will announce the selection of the 26 at-large teams to go along with the 22 automatic qualifiers, the winners of the 22 conference championships. (The Atlantic Soccer Conference, which has no team ranked higher than 169, lost its automatic berth.)

(Click here for 2007 NCAA Tournament Rules.)

Here's a look at the 48 teams that would have made the NCAA Tournament as of the NCAA's mid-season snapshot -- based on games through Monday -- the top-ranked team from each of the 22 conferences (in bold) and the 26 next highest-ranked teams.

Six conferences have three or more teams in this hypothetical 48: Big East (8), ACC (7), Big Ten (5),  Big West (3), Ivy (3) and Pac-10 (3). The America East, Conference USA and WCC with two apiece were the only other conferences with more than one team in the 48. (Below are conference rankings based on the RPI rankings of each conference's five highest ranked teams.)

(Click here for last week's latest women's RPI.)

PROJECTED 48
RANK SCHOOL (CONFERENCE)
1 Wake Forest (ACC 1)

2 Boston College (ACC 2)
3 Northwestern (Big Ten 1)
4 Indiana (Big Ten 2)
5 Brown (Ivy 1)
6 Santa Clara (WCC 1)
7 Ohio St. (Big Ten 3)
8 *Creighton (Missouri Valley 1)
9 Virginia Tech (ACC 3)
10 Connecticut (Big East 1)
11 UC Santa Barbara (Big West 1)
12 *Akron (Mid-American 1)
13 Notre Dame (Big East 2)
14 Maryland (ACC 4)
15 Tulsa (Conference USA 1)
16 Harvard (Ivy 2)
17 Gonzaga (WCC 2)
18 DePaul (Big East 3)
19 SMU (Conference USA 2)
20 Virginia (ACC 5)
21 North Carolina (ACC 6)
22 Dartmouth (Ivy 3)
23 UCLA (Pac-10 1)
24 *Saint Louis (Atlantic-10 1)
25 Duke (ACC 7)
26 Michigan (Big Ten 4)
27 UC Irvine (Big West 2)
28 Washington (Pac-10 2)
29 Michigan St. (Big Ten 5)
30 *Furman (Southern 1)
31 Providence (Big East 4)
32 West Virginia (Big East 5)
33 Louisville (Big East 6)
34 St. John's (Big East 7)
35 South Fla. (Big East 8)
36 Cal Poly (Big West 3)
37 Boston U. (America East 1)
38 *Loyola, Md. (MAAC 1)
39 *Quinnipiac (Northeast 1)
40 California (Pac-10 3)
41 Binghamton (America East 2)
-----------------------------------
43 *New Mexico (MPSF 1)

44 *Old Dominion (CAA 1)
50 *Colgate (Patriot 1)
57 *Loyola (Ill.) (Horizon 1)
85 *Oakland (Summit 1)
95 *Liberty (Big South 1)
102 *Stetson (Atlantic Sun 1)
*Sole conference team in top 48.

Of note ...

-- SMU, ranked No. 1 in this week's Soccer America Top 25, is only 19th in the RPI. Four teams -- Gonzaga (17th), DePaul (18th), North Carolina (21st) and UCLA (23rd) -- in the RPI 25 are not in the Soccer America Top 25.

-- The Big East's top-ranked team, Connecticut, is only 10th in the latest RPI, but eight Big East figure among the top 35 teams in the nation.

-- Other strong conferences are the ACC with Wake Forest at No. 1 and Boston College at No. 2 and three other teams in the top 20, and the Big Ten with Northwestern at No. 3, Indiana at No. 4 and Ohio State at No. 7.

-- The Pac-10 has no teams ranked among the top 20 teams in the RPI rankings and might have only two or three teams in the 48-team field.

-- The big decliner this year is the CAA. Its highest ranked team is Old Dominion at No. 44. Last season, the CAA had four teams ranked in the top 31 of the final RPI.

-- The at-large "cut" is at No. 41, though Binghamton risks falling after being upended by Vermont, 2-0, on Wednesday. With three weekends left in the men's regular season, other candidates for at-large berths, include, in order, Wisconsin, Bradley, Memphis, St. Peter's and Fairfield.

CONFERENCE RANKINGS

(Based on each conference's top five teams.)

ACC (46)
1 Wake Forest
2 Boston College
9 Virginia Tech
14 Maryland
20 Virginia

Big Ten (69)
3 Northwestern
4 Indiana
7 Ohio St.
26 Michigan
29 Michigan St.

Big East (104)
10 Connecticut
13 Notre Dame
18 DePaul
31 Providence
32 West Virginia

Conference USA (184)
15 Tulsa
19 SMU
45 Bradley
46 Memphis
59 South Carolina

Big West (189)
11 UC Santa Barbara
27 UC Irvine
36 Cal Poly
51 Cal St. Northridge
64 UC Davis

Pac-10 (216)
23 UCLA
28 Washington
40 California
60 San Diego St.
65 Stanford

WCC (227)
6 Santa Clara
17 Gonzaga
61 Portland
69 San Diego
74 San Francisco

Ivy League (249)
5 Brown
16 Harvard
22 Dartmouth
96 Yale
110 Princeton

America East (271)
37 Boston U.
41 Binghamton
54 Hartford
56 New Hampshire
83 Stony Brook

Atlantic-10 (307)
24 St. Louis
52 Massachusetts
58 Rhode Island
82 Charlotte
91 Dayton

Missouri Valley (332)
8 Creighton
45 Bradley
89 Drake
90 Eastern Ill.
100 Evansville

Southern (340)
30 Furman
49 Col. of Charleston
80 UNC Greensboro
84 Elon
97 Appalachian St.

Mid-American (357)
12 Akron
62 Northern Ill.
67 Buffalo
75 Hartwick
141 Western Mich.

CAA (370)
44 Old Dominion
66 VCU
79 William & Mary
88 Towson
93 Drexel

Patriot League (372)
50 Colgate
63 Holy Cross
68 Bucknell
76 Lafayette
115 Lehigh

MAAC (379)
38 Loyola (Md.)
47 St. Peter's
48 Fairfield
118 Marist
128 Iona

Northeast (399)
39 Quinnipiac
53 Monmouth
77 Sacred Heart
106 St. Francis (Pa.)
124 Fairleigh Dickinson

Horizon (457)
57 Loyola (Ill.)
72 Green Bay
101 Butler
113 Milwaukee
114 UIC

MPSF (572)
43 New Mexico
73 San Jose St.
136 Denver
156 UNLV
164 Sacramento St.

Atlantic Sun (637)
102 Stetson
105 Jacksonville
116 Campbell
148 Belmont
166 Mercer

Summit (673)
85 Oakland
126 UMKC
134 Oral Roberts
140 Western Ill.
188 IUPUI

Big South (745)
95 Liberty
135 Radford
152 Coastal Caro.
181 Wofford
182 VMI

Atlantic Soccer (940)
169 Fla. Atlantic
191 Howard
192 NJIT
193 Adelphi
195 Longwood


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