Based on the results of the last few days, Stanford drops from #5 to #7 in the final RPI at collegerpi.com, just slivers of points behind RPI #5 North Carolina and RPI #6 Notre Dame. RPI #13 Texas Tech, the most highly rated team the Card have defeated, bowed out early in the Big 12 Tournament, deflating Stanford's numbers. Considering Stanford possesses the #1 spot in both polls and a 20-game winning streak, at #5 in the RPI, it'd be hard to see how Stanford wouldn't get a one seed. At #7, however, the case becomes feasible.
If the data at collegerpi.com is to be believed, Stanford did receive a couple of critical breaks, however. The nitty-gritty report for the committee breaks down opponents into five categories based upon their RPI: 1-25, 26-50, 51-100, 100-200 and 201+. With Oregon finishing at RPI #49, Utah at RPI #24 and Arizona State at RPI #22, six games will barely break into the higher category for the Cardinal. With these breaks, the Cardinal now stand a perfect 17-0 against teams outside the RPI Top 50 and 5-1 against the RPI Top 25. Without these breaks, Stanford would have a loss outside the RPI Top 50 and would stand only 1-1 against the RPI Top 25.
Since the initial article, RPI #9 Baylor won three consecutive games en route to the Big 12 Tournament championship, which should serve to move the Bears up significantly. Luckily for Stanford, Baylor only defeated RPI #18 Kansas State in the finals, for had Baylor had knocked off a slightly stronger team, such as RPI #12 Texas, the prospects of a #1 seed for the Cardinal would get just that much more dicey.
Keeping these results in mind, here's my final guess at the top, in order:
Tennessee is certainly #1 and LSU is definitely #2 overall. Teams #3 - #6 are a complete jumble, with Duke and Ohio State a cut below. Because of how close Stanford, Michigan State, North Carolina and Baylor all appear, neither a low one seed nor a high two seed would be a surprise for Stanford. Whatever Stanford's seed, the projected S-curve would put Stanford in the same region as either Michigan State, North Carolina, or Baylor. Thus, barring any upsets, the first Top 10 team Stanford will face in its tournament path would be Michigan State, North Carolina or Baylor, in a battle for a Final Four berth.
Daniel Novinson is a freshman at Stanford University. He's broadcasting women's basketball on KZSU - listen along at kzsu.org or 90.1 FM. Daniel welcomes any feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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