What Are NET Rankings in College Basketball?

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(AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
Ryan Hannable @RyanHannable Mar 11, 2022, 3:29 PM

Selection Sunday is right around the corner, but before the brackets and NCAA basketball championship odds are released, the field of 68 needs to be decided. 

When it comes to deciding on the 68 teams (32 automatic bids for conference winners, 36 at-large bids) and their seeds, the NCAA selection committee evaluates teams in several different ways.

The primary sorting tool is something that didn’t even exist four years ago – NET rankings.

Explaining NET Rankings in College Basketball

The 2021-22 season is the fourth year NET rankings have been in place. In 2018, the NCAA replaced the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) with these to evaluate teams throughout the season, but mostly for the NCAA tournament. 

The NET algorithm is composed of two parts: team value index (TVI) and an adjusted net efficiency rating. TVI is a result-based feature that rewards teams who beat quality opponents, especially on the road. Meanwhile, adjusted net efficiency accounts for strength of opponent, as well as game location (home, away, neutral). 

It is also worth noting all games carry the same weight. So, a game played in November means the same as a game played in early March.

The exact algorithm is unknown, and it isn’t 100% clear just how much weight the NET has when determining the field and seeds. But, it definitely is a piece of the puzzle for the selection committee. 

With that being said, NET rankings do play a major role in a team’s resume with the quadrant system. 

This is where the quality of wins and losses are organized based on game location and the opponent’s NET ranking.

  • 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 135-240
  • Quadrant 4: Home 161-353, Neutral 201-353, Away 241-353

For example, if Duke beat North Carolina on the road and North Carolina had a 74 NET ranking, Duke would be credited with a Quadrant 1 win. If Duke lost to Boston College at home and Boston College had a NET ranking of 77, Duke would then have a Quadrant 3 loss.

Quadrant 1 wins will be very important come Selection Sunday, while a bunch of Quadrant 3 and 4 losses could be bad news for any teams on the bubble. 

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About the Author

Ryan Hannable

Read More @RyanHannable

Ryan Hannable is a copy editor on the Web Content Team for BetMGM. Previously, he was a New England Patriots beat writer for WEEI in Boston. He also has published a golf book, “The Ultimate Book of Golf Trivia: 600 Questions and Answers.”

Ryan Hannable is a copy editor on the Web Content Team for BetMGM. Previously, he was a New England Patriots beat writer for WEEI in Boston. He also has published a golf book, “The Ultimate Book of Golf Trivia: 600 Questions and Answers.”