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The NCAA Does the Right Thing (For Once)

Purdue’s game against Penn State has been changed to away.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Penn State Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve paid attention to the NCAA Tournament at all you know about the NET rankings. If not, maybe you’ve seen them discussed on this site or elsewhere on the college basketball internet. If this still isn’t ringing a bell I’ll give a brief primer below before we go into what the NCAA did today to help our beloved Boilermakers.

The NET largely replaced the prior measurement of RPI that the NCAA Selection Committee uses to determine seeding and who is in and who is out come Selection Sunday. It takes into account a number of factors (It takes into account game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin, net offensive and defensive efficiency, and the quality of wins and losses.) but the way you and I interact with it is largely based on Quad wins. You may be asking yourself what are these quad wins. I’ll give that info to you directly from the NCAA website itself:

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

You obviously want as many Quad 1 and Quad 2 wins as possible. The Quad 3 and 4 wins don’t give you a lot so really you want to avoid losses in those quadrants. You can see that the NET values playing away and at neutral sites much more than playing at home. That makes sense because as Big Ten fans we know that playing on the road is much more difficult than playing at home.

All that preamble done we now get to what the NCAA did today that actually...was right. As you know Purdue played Penn State on Sunday in Philadelphia. This game was originally scheduled to take place at the Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State’s campus but Coach Shrewsberry wanted to play a game at the Palestra and Coach Painter and Purdue agreed. Taking no other information in it would seem that this would move the game from away to neutral and that’s how it was put into Purdue’s NET ranking. Until today. We first saw this officially reported by Andy Katz.

As Katz says, this only makes sense. Penn State controlled every aspect of the game from ticket sales, to announcer in the arena, the video board, band and student section, etc. It had all the hallmarks of a home game for Penn State (minus the empty seats).

This is great news for Purdue as it moves the victory over Penn State (currently 66 in the NET) from a Quad 2 win to a Quad 1 win. Making Purdue 6-1 in Quad 1. They’ve now got Quad 1 wins over Marquette, West Virginia, Gonzaga, Duke, Ohio State, and now Penn State. Their only loss is of course against Rutgers. Kansas is the only other team in the country that can claim a 6-1 Quad 1 record. Top ranked Houston is just 3-1 in Quad 1 with a very soft schedule the rest of the way.

With this decision by the NCAA Purdue finds itself in a great position to continue to build its resume and work toward that ever elusive number one seed come March. Every victory counts and right now Purdue sits at #5 in the NET and #3 in the AP Top 25. Yes, the only poll that matters is the one at the end of the year, but you get there by putting the work in now. Let’s keep it moving.