BPI Talk: Miami could be No. 1

There are some notable differences between ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) and the NCAA’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). Let’s take a look at some of the teams with the largest disparities between BPI rank and RPI rank.

Butler Bulldogs (BPI Rank 33, RPI Rank 10)

Butler has defeated three teams that were ranked in the AP top 10 at the time of the game.

Why are the Bulldogs only ranked No. 33 in BPI? Against their three toughest opponents according to BPI -- Indiana, Gonzaga and Marquette -- they won by a combined four points. They’ve only won one game all season by 20 or more points. They’ve faced 11 top-150 opponents and they defeated 10 of them by 12 points or fewer.

BPI takes margin into account, while RPI -- which has Butler as No. 10 -- does not.

Miami (FL) Hurricanes (BPI Rank 15, RPI Rank 3)

Why are the Hurricanes ranked so high in RPI? They’ve played the toughest strength of schedule in the country according to RPI. They’ve faced six top-50 teams and only three teams outside of the top 150. The Hurricanes are 5-1 against the top 50 and 9-2 against the top 100. All three of their losses have come away from home with two of them coming to top 60 teams.

BPI takes into account that all three of Miami’s losses have come without one of its top players. The Hurricanes lost to Florida Gulf Coast without Durand Scott, and to Indiana State and Arizona without Reggie Johnson.

Miami is 7-0 with all of its top players. Its BPI in those games is 97.2, which would be the No. 1 BPI in the country if that was Miami’s BPI for the whole season.

Pittsburgh Panthers (BPI Rank 14, RPI Rank 46)

According to RPI, Pittsburgh would be a bubble team at No. 46. But according to BPI (No. 14), Pitt is a top-15 team.

The Panthers put together a rather weak nonconference schedule -- RPI ranks it 295th. Eleven of their 21 games have come against teams outside the RPI top 150. None of those games were on the road. Against all others, the Panthers are just 6-5. Against top-50 teams, they’re 2-4.

BPI takes margin into account. Despite facing some weak opponents, 10 of Pitt’s 17 wins are by more than 20 points. Therefore, since the Panthers took care of business against those teams, the weak schedule doesn’t hurt them nearly as much as it does in RPI. The Panthers’ 15 wins are by an average margin of 24.4 points per game. Also, in their overtime loss to Marquette, Tray Woodall left the game early in the first half with a head injury.