Penn State leads latest women's RPI index

Penn State, which wrapped up its 10th straight Big Ten regular-season title on Friday, is the top-ranked team in the final RPI index the NCAA will release before the 64-team Division I Tournament field is announced next Monday.

Defending national champion North Carolina is No. 2, and Pac-10 teams UCLA, Stanford and USC round out the top five.

Eight conferences are evenly represented in the top 25 teams in the RPI index: ACC (5), SEC (4), Big East (3), Big Ten (3), Pac-10 (3), WCC (3), Big 12 (2), CAA (2).

The big surprise is Samford of the Ohio Valley at No. 40.

Based on current RPI rankings, highly competitive conferences that could end up with only its tournament champion going as its automatic qualifier are the Mountain West and Big West.

The RPI -- Ratings Percentage Index -- is the most important of the criteria it uses to determine the 64-team field for the NCAA Division I Women's Tournament. The RPI is a mathematical formula designed to objectively compare results and strength of schedule.

On Monday, Nov. 12, the day after the end of the regular season, the NCAA will announce the selection of the 34 at-large teams to go along with the 30 automatic qualifiers, the winners of the 30 conference championships. (Click here for NCAA Tournament rules.)

WOMEN'S RPI INDEX (Nov. 5)
1 Penn State (Big Ten)

2 North Carolina (ACC)
3 UCLA (Pac-10)
4 USC (Pac-10)
5 Stanford (Pac-10)
6 Tennessee (SEC)
7 Texas A&M (Big 12)
8 Portland (WCC)
9 Georgia (SEC)
10 Wake Forest (ACC)
11 San Diego (WCC)
12 Virginia (ACC)
13 Purdue (Big Ten)
14 West Virginia (Big East)
15 James Madison (CAA)
16 Notre Dame (Big East)
17 Florida (SEC)
18 Indiana (Big Ten)
19 Florida State (ACC)
20 Louisville (Big East)
21 Texas (Big 12)
22 South Carolina (SEC)
23 Santa Clara (WCC)
24 Clemson (ACC)
25 William & Mary (CAA)
26 Boston College (ACC)
27 LSU (SEC)
28 UCF (Conference USA)
29 UNC Greensboro (Southern)
30 Hofstra (CAA)
31 Charlotte (Atlantic 10)
32 California (Pac-10)
33 Missouri (Big 12)
34 Ohio St. (Big Ten)
35 Duke (ACC)
36 Illinois (Big Ten)
37 Connecticut (Big East)
38 Memphis (Conference USA)
39 Arizona State (Pac-10)
40 Samford (Ohio Valley)
(Top-ranked conference teams in bold)

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