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Date Posted: 03/11/03 11:57am
Author: Pelican
Author Host/IP: 66.214.193.134
Subject: Sun Belt penalizes teams for weak schedule

I recognize one of our past opponents-- "Big Daddy". You NFL buffs will know who I mean. Maybe it is time for us to upgrade our non-conference hoops schedule? We aren't mentioned, but did we help or hinder New Orleans? What's our final RPI?

Monday, March 10

Program pays for non-conference opponents' low RPI

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans will lose about $45,000 from the Sun Belt Conference's NCAA Tournament revenue because its non-conference opponents included too many with low ratings.

Commissioner Wright Waters set aside $500,000 of the league's $1.2 million tournament take from 2000 to be divided among Sun Belt members rated above 150th among the NCAA's 323 Division I basketball-playing schools.

The Ratings Percentage Index, or RPI, is worked out using each team's victories and the quality of its opponents. The Privateers' RPI this year is 164.

The Sun Belt has only one automatic qualifier for the NCAA Tournament, and has not had more than one men's team get in since 1994.

Waters set aside the incentive money to improve the league's basketball status and improve its chance of getting more than one bid.

In one season, the Sun Belt climbed from 19th to 15th of the 31 conferences, with a winning overall record against non-conference opponents of 66-62.

"What we'd like is for our teams, whether they win the league or not, to be perceived as quality teams that can go into the NCAA Tournament on their own merits," Waters said. "The key is quality programs, of course, but also competitive schedules. We want our basketball to be at least in the top half of the NCAA. We've made strides."

Programs are rated at the start of the season, by the quality of the non-conference schedule, and at the end.

New Orleans' schedule included such opponents as Division II St. Leo's and Rollins College, coupled with lower-echelon Division I foes such as David Lipscomb, Southwest Texas State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

Performance counts, too -- both a team's own performance and its opponents'.

But New Orleans' non-conference opponents stayed low. Southwest Texas State had a rating of 183rd at the end of the regular season, Texas A&M-CC was 256th, and David Lipscomb 319th.

New Orleans, which lost seven of its last 10 games, finished 15-14. The Privateers ranked 164th in RPI going into their season-ending 62-45 loss Friday to Denver, a team with an RPI of 185.

New Orleans has been talking to such schools as Southern Mississippi, Auburn and Mississippi State for future schedules.

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