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NET Rankings Bring up Great Debate for College Basketball

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The NCAA released the first edition of its NET rankings, on Monday, and West Virginia was placed at No. 73.

The NET rankings are a computerized system that measures the quality of opponent played and where the game was played, as well as margin of victory. This ranking has been used to determine the seeds for the NCAA Tournament for the last few seasons, effectively replacing the RPI format.

West Virginia sits at 7-1. You wouldn’t think a 7-1 team would be ranked 73rd in the country? Well when you look at it, it makes sense why they’re ranked as low as they are.

The Mountaineers are 5-0 against ‘Quad-4’ opponents, which tend to be the low majors. WVU has struggled to win outright against these teams. West Virginia’s ‘Quad-4’ wins are Pitt (+15 points), Elon (+19), Eastern Kentucky (+3), Bellarmine (+19), and Radford (+16).

WVU is 2-1 against ‘Quad-2′ opponents, which are borderline top 25-50 schools. The results there are Oakland (+7), Clemson (+7), and Marquette (-11).

The NET rankings are in place to try and get teams to run up the score on each other, which explains why WVU isn’t favored thus far. Players and coaches just want to win. Now they have to worry about how much they win or lose by.

So, would you rather win your games or run up the score and be favored by the rankings?

“I think it’s sad whenever you have to try and embarrass people and beat them [by a lot],” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said. “I was on the committee and that was never part of what the committee was trying to accomplish.”

Over the last couple of years, coaches have been getting players educated on certain rankings like the NET, Sagarin, and Kenpom. It’s part of the game now to not only win, but win by a lot. WVU forward Isaiah Cottrell gave his perspective from the players’ perspective.

“I don’t think it takes sportsmanship out of it,” he said. “We just got to take care of every team that we play and games that we know we can win, we need to win the games. We can’t just scrape by.”

Even though West Virginia is playing at home tomorrow against No. 15 UConn this week, they have a great chance at securing their first “Quad-1” win against the Huskies and rising quickly in the NET rankings.

(Top Photo: Kelsie LeRose / WVSN)

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Ethan Bock is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in journalism at WVU. He currently is an intern with the Final Fourcast podcast. Ethan has covered WVU football and men’s basketball for the last year. He is from Cincinnati, Ohio.

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