Hey gang, Realist Ray, College Baseball RPI Analyst, here to talk about the Missouri Valley Conference teams that happen to sit in the Top 10 in RPI and in the College Baseball Central Top 25. I know that many, like my fellow analyst Larry, swear by the RPI and I’ll concede that it is an adequate measure of how a team is performing.
Calling it the King of college baseball?
Well, let’s just say that may be over-doing it just a tad bit.
Especially when you find not one, but TWO teams from the Missouri Valley Conference in the RPI Top 10 right now. The No. 23 Dallas Baptist Patriots have opened with an astounding 26-7 mark and are enthroned as Royals as the No. 1 ranked team in the RPI with a strength of schedule of 10.
Let’s not forget that they trail by a half game in the MVC standings the salty No. 25 Missouri State Bears who’ve put together an equally impressive 24-8 start to the season. Oh, and they did happen to win 2-of-3 against the Patriots a couple of weekends ago.
The Bears are bad news to the big boys at No. 6 in the RPI rankings with a 32nd ranked strength of schedule.
So, why am I so optimistic about the coming fall of these two amazing squads in RPI ranking?
Put simply, I’ve looked at the conference they play in and unfortunately for their National Seed aspirations, it’s not very good.
We know that the RPI isn’t just about each individual team’s wins and losses. It also weights for whether games were played in the friendly confines, on the road or at some neutral location somewhere, maybe the moon for all we know.
RPI also includes how the teams you have played have performed. As long as your schedule is chocked full of teams that are solid in terms of RPI, you’re good. But as soon as your schedule touches teams that are lower, your RPI will drop, even if you win!
And if you happen to lose a game to one of those low RPI teams, or even worse lose a game at home to one of them, your RPI ranking will plummet sharply, think Nintendo’s Duck Hunt!
The Missouri Valley Conference is ranked ninth in average RPI with a 110. However, if you remove the Bears and Patriots (since they’ve met already) the teams they face ahead are an average of 145 which is helped by Bradley’s No. 14 ranking.
Southern Illinois has settled to the bottom with a 270 while, Illinois State (116), Wichita State (190) and Indiana State (194) sit in the 100s. Evansville is at 91 as the only reasonable RPI squad these teams will face.
Every other game on the conference slate will diminish their RPI ranking unless they both manage to sweep everybody, which is possible, but let’s not forget who you’re dealing with here.
In a fancy place called REALITY we know that isn’t going to happen. These are college kids and they will have weekends in which things are just out of sorts. It’s part of the nature of the game and part of the reason we all love it like we do.
Fans like me would love to witness the story of both teams staying and the top and pushing the Selection Committee for spots as Regional Hosts and possibly even National Seeds. However, realizing our reality is part of the growing process and the reality here is this: MVC play will pull them down.
As it says in the holy writ, “Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV)
Realist RPI Rule # 6: Bad competition ruins good RPI!