Indiana Hoosiers (BPI Rank 2, RPI Rank 6)
(Note: After its win on Monday, Louisville overtook Indiana for the top spot in the BPI.)
Does Indiana seem more like the No. 2 team in the country or the No. 6 team? The difference is mostly because each of the Hoosiers’ four losses is by five points or fewer, including two-point losses against Butler (in overtime) and Illinois. RPI punishes the Hoosiers for losing to two top-50 opponents, Butler and Illinois, but BPI gives them credit for close losses against decent opponents. According to BPI, Indiana has the second-lowest variation in college basketball. The only team more consistent than Indiana is Grambling State, but that’s a different kind of consistency.
Gonzaga Bulldogs (BPI Rank 5, RPI Rank 11)
Gonzaga is ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll, but are the Bulldogs really the best team in the country? BPI and RPI agree that the Bulldogs are overrated, but RPI doesn’t even consider them a top-10 team. BPI gives the Bulldogs credit for 10 conference wins by more than 15 points, and recognizes that the Butler loss was by one point in a game they would have won were it not for a buzzer-beater by Roosevelt Jones.
Massachusetts Minutemen (BPI Rank 86, RPI Rank 54)
Is UMass a bubble team? ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi doesn’t have the Minutemen on the bubble, but a few “bracketologists” have them in the field right now. The Minutemen’s resume stacks up well against most bubble teams with a respectable RPI, non-conference strength of schedule and road record. They have seven wins against the top 100 and no losses against teams outside the top 150. The Minutemen’s low BPI rank is due to a bevy of close wins: 14 of their 18 wins are by 10 points or fewer, and 10 of them are by five points or fewer.
Wisconsin Badgers (BPI Rank 24, RPI Rank 43)
Wisconsin’s No. 43 RPI is lower than bubble teams Temple and Southern Miss, but the Badgers’ No. 24 BPI shows that they’re solidly in the field. Before the Badgers’ 13-point home loss to Purdue on Sunday –- by far their worst Game BPI score of the season (18.2) –- they haven’t had a truly poor performance all season. All of Wisconsin’s other Game BPI scores are higher than 50. The Badgers’ four-point road loss at Iowa, two-point home loss to Michigan State and overtime road loss to Minnesota were all games the Badgers could have won if the ball bounced the right way in the final minutes. Meanwhile, the Badgers took care of business recently with convincing wins over Nebraska, Northwestern and Ohio State, which, along with wins over Indiana, Illinois and California, represent their six best Game BPI scores of the season.