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TOP 25 WATCH: Women’s Hoops Predictably Still on Outside Looking In

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After a 1-1 week, Missouri loses some votes

NCAA Womens Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Missouri vs Alabama Dawson Powers-USA TODAY Sports

After a 1-1 week that saw Missouri beat Auburn (no. 94 in NET, currently) in OT at home and lose to Arkansas (no. 30 in NET) on the road by 10, it should come as no surprise that your Missouri Tigers still find themselves unranked. What does surprise us, however, is just how much faith was lost in the Tigers after a single loss to a pretty good team.

In Week 10’s poll, the Tigers received just a dozen points, a week after receiving 56 (tied for 26th with Colorado State). The SEC has five ranked teams in the new poll: South Carolina (1), Tennessee (5), LSU (12), Georgia (17), and Kentucky (19). Missouri finds itself the next SEC team out, in 31st place, approximately 71 points behind the no. 25 team, Kansas State.

Only five (!) voters ranked Mizzou this week. Carl Adamec, Deb Antonelli and Jim Allen ranked Mizzou at 23 while Jeff Linder ranked them at 24 and Joe Vozzelli at 25. At least five people believe in the Tigers?? We kid.

The unranked teams ahead of Mizzou points-wise are all very much deserving of the votes. Florida Gulf Coast was on an absolute tear last week, blowing out both the University of North Florida and Jacksonville. Iowa split their matchups last week, losing to Northwestern at home but beating Nebraska on the road. Ohio State defeated both Illinois and Northwestern. Despite not playing a game since January 2, Missouri State had 15 points, which is a common trend we’ve seen in the polls this season. DePaul won the only game it played this past week, against Providence on January 7, but they still tied Mizzou in total points with 12. Finishing just behind Mizzou, Nebraska defeated then no. 8 Michigan on January 4, but the loss to Iowa more than likely resulted in them only receiving 10 points. Lastly, Virginia Tech received three points despite losing to then no. 19 (now no. 21) North Carolina 46-71.

Now let’s get to the NET and RPI rankings.

In case you still need explanation of how the NET rankings are tabulated, the NCAA has an article explaining what it is here. Best of luck understanding it; it’s very convoluted. We still very much hate the NET, y’all, but sadly, they don’t care about our opinion.

After the non-con, Mizzou found itself ranked no. 49. And after beating the no. 1 team in all the land, South Carolina, Mizzou moved to up to (an absurdly low) 44. From there, they’ve fluctuated between 41-43, before settling on their current ranking, 44.

I know, I know. We’re fans. Obviously we think this is too low. But really, IT IS TOO LOW. Even the Arkansas broadcasters on Sunday said so! Those citing the Tigers’ SOS as an issue, we get it. But consider this… When the Tigers’ released their non-con schedule in mid-August, they had lined up, out of their 12 opponents, five who had played in the NCAA Tournament last season, nine who had a winning record, and four who’d won 20+ games. One would have hoped this would help the Tigers with their NET rankings. However, some of the Tigers’ opponents have, so far anyway, decided to not do them any favors.

For reference, as of January 10, their opponents’ NET rankings are as follows:

The best results likely helping Mizzou maintain their 44th spot are their home wins over Auburn, Murray State (love to see that improvement), Troy (thank you), neutral site Columbia, close road loss to Baylor, and of course, the South Carolina upset. Taking Baylor down to the wire is a positive in the NET’s algorithm mainly because it was an away game against a good team. When all is said and done, because Missouri State is also highly ranked and was a road game, it may not hinder the Tigers’ rankings too too bad, despite its blowout nature.

The RPI (real time ratings percentage index) is by far our favorite, and seems to be a more accurate picture of teams. As mentioned last week, the NCAA stopped using RPI before the 2020-2021 season and fans blew up. RPI takes into account three factors: Division 1 winning percentage, opponents D1 winning percentage/strength of schedule (not including the results), and the team’s opponents’ opponents win percentage/strength of schedule (again excluding results). You can read more about the RPI algorithm here. So basically, the RPI looks at a team’s win percentage, how your opponents have done and their SOS, and how your opponents’ opponents’ SOS is. So confusing.

Despite the NCAA’s divorce from the RPI, it is still in use for a different and, in our opinion, more fair determination of rankings.

When we first checked in on the RPI on January 4, South Carolina found itself atop the rankings and Mizzou was at no. 8. A week later, Mizzou is ranked no. 11, only a slight drop from the previous week. The only SEC schools ahead of Mizzou are South Carolina at no. 1 and Tennessee at no. 4. Arkansas moved up three spots from 62 to 59 while Auburn moved up two spots from 146 to 144. Mizzou’s next opponent, LSU, currently stands at no. 21.

So what does Mizzou need to do to squeak into the Top-25? Keep beating good teams, obviously. The Tigers will get their next chance on Thursday when they take on no. 12 LSU in Baton Rouge, and then head back home to take on no. 17 Georgia on Sunday.

What we can continue to say for sure though, is this team is resilient. They’re fighters who never give up when facing adversity. They beat South Carolina on a rotation of seven. Despite some obvious rust, they came back from behind to Auburn and won in OT, and despite being down 20 to Arkansas at halftime, they battled back and got it back to 10.

It’s still early in SEC play. Continue the support and let’s hope for a great showing this week.