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Stats Corner: NET ranking the Lower MWC

Looking at the NET rankings for teams not going the NCAA Tournament

NCAA Basketball: Wyoming at UNLV Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

There are six teams from the MWC who have a legitimate chance to make the NCAA tournament without winning the conference tournament. That leaves five teams whose season will end in the conference tournament. This week on Stats Corner we will cover those teams based on their NET rankings based on February 7th rankings.

Quick refresh on NET rankings it is not an algorithm, meaning there no formula for humans to recreate the rankings; the predictive-learning model does it, based on the Team Value Index or the game results, the game location, and outcome, and net efficiency (offensive efficiency minus defensive efficiency). The divisions for the quadrants are:

Quadrant 1: Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75.

Quadrant 2: Home 31-75; Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135.

Quadrant 3: Home 76-160; Neutral 101-200; Away 136-240.

Quadrant 4: Home 161-plus; Neutral 201-plus; Away 241-plus.

From the NCAA website “The number of Quadrant 1 wins and Quadrant 3/4 losses will be incredibly important when it comes time for NCAA tournament selection and seeding.” The teams we are looking at today are the Q3/4 losses which will hurt the top teams but whose wins will not help.

UNLV:NET 97, Q1 3-4, Q2 0-2, Q3 3-0, Q4 4-3

The Rebels are in a strange place. On the plus side they have 3 all-important Q1 wins, the negative is they have three inexcusable Q4 losses. They do have a solid ranking, in previous years a NET ranking of 97 would put them in the 4th-5th range for the MWC, but with the conference doing well and being deep they are the seventh best rank. They could be a dark horse in tournament, especially since the tournament is in Las Vegas. But those 3 Q4 losses mean they need an automatic bid to avoid the NIT.

Wyoming: NET 165, Q1 1-6, Q2 1-1, Q3 4-2, Q4 4-2

The first considerable drop off in the conference. The Cowboys only have 2 Q1/Q2 wins and both were big Colorado State and Nevada. But they have some bad Q3/Q4 losses. However, a NET ranking of 165 is not a bad ranking for the conference, especially since last year they had a NET ranking of 200 and were 0-8 in Q1 and Q2. The Cowboys are improving, but just not consistent enough to avoid the really bad losses.

Fresno State: NET 219, Q1 0-5, Q2 0-4, Q3 2-3, Q4 7-1

Last year, a NET of 200 was the lowest in the conference. Unfortunately for the top teams looking to earn a bid, there are three teams in the 200’s. Fortunately, there are no teams below 250, which is also an improvement from 2019 with 2 teams in the 300’s and 2021 when 3 MWC teams had NET rankings that started with a 3. With nine Q1 opportunities the Bulldogs have played a good schedule, but they are 0-9 in those games. The Bulldogs are a fairly straight forward average team, beat the teams they should and lose to the teams they should.

San Jose State: NET 222, Q1 0-5, Q2 1-1, Q3 1-5, Q4 5-4

The Spartans started the season 5-2, due mainly to the competition they scheduled. They did manage to get one Q2 win, but with a losing Q3/Q4 record there is a reason their only conference is against the only team ranked below them. Regrettably, for the top teams, there is no margin of victory aspect to the NET rankings, even if it used to be capped at 10 points, as the top teams are beating up on the Spartans but not getting a boost from them.

Air Force NET 247, Q1 0-6, Q2 1-0, Q3 0-4, Q4 7-4

The Falcons show why it is important for the top teams that the rest of the conference has a good ranking. That sole Q2 victory was over UNLV, ok it was a 90-58 beat down at UNLV, but it gave the Rebels a bad Q4 loss and is part of the reason UNLV will not get an automatic bid. If the entire conference is ranked high enough that all games are at least Q3, then it helps the top teams without the risk of an off night have a dreaded Q4 loss. Outside of the UNLV game, the Falcons are win less in Q1, Q2 and Q3 games. Not a stat the MWC needs.