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UNC's Schedule Is Stronger Than You Think and Other RPI Observations

So when UNC set their schedule before the season it looked on paper like it would be very tough. Six games away from Chapel Hill with two at Kentucky and Ohio State with the possibility of playing a top ten ranked Louisville team in Las Vegas. What happened? Kentucky went to down the rebuilding road, OSU is good but not great and Louisville lost to BYU which turned out to be a tough opponent in their own right. From there UNC started a slate of games against various schools everyone assumed, based on their names, were certified Little Debbie snacks. Thus the myth was born that UNC was playing a weak schedule. As it turns out that is not even close to the truth. The Heels have the 32nd ranked strength of schedule according to the RPI. However only three teams found in the current AP Top 25 are ranked ahead of UNC in SOS with recently deposed Xavier also above UNC and #25 Wisconsin right behind them. In terms of where UNC's schedule falls compared to the rest of the ACC, it is the second best in the conference.

Team RPI Rank SOS Rank Record vs
RPI 100
Rd/Neut Record
1. GT 65th 11th 1-5 4-3
2. UNC 2nd 32nd 6-0 7-0
3. FSU 32nd 37th 3-4 3-4
4. VT 83rd 69th 0-3 3-6
5. NCSU 43rd 82nd 2-1 4-2
6. DUKE 22nd 94th 2-1 4-1
7. UVA 57th 99th 1-3 2-2
8. CLEM 23rd 123rd 1-1 4-1
9. MD 188th 137th 0-4 0-2
10. BC 72nd 147th 2-2 2-0
11. WF 82nd 228th 2-1 1-3
12. MIA 60th 265th 3-1 5-1

Aside from the six RPI 100 teams UNC has faced(and beaten), the Heels have also won all seven road/neutral games they have played. Regardless of the names of the teams, the raw numbers paint a fairly clear picture that UNC's schedule is not as weak as some would portend.

The list above offered up some interesting observations about ACC teams and their RPI ratings.

  • It would appear at present Miami's 12-1 is quite possibly a house of cards since it was built on one of the worst schedules in the country. Then again the Hurricanes are also 3-1 versus the top 100 and 5-1 away from home which makes it a wash for now.
  • Any doubts that Maryland is downright horrible? 0-4 versus the RPI 100 and an ranked 188th overall? At this point playing Maryland would damage your SOS.
  • FSU is positioned quite well where the RPI and SOS is concerned to the point 9-7 would probably get them into the NCAA Tournament. The same is true of GT if they can find a way to win enough games in the ACC. Their main problem is they are sitting at 6-6 with 15 ACC games left and an three OOC games versus Georgia, Presbyterian and UConn. The Jackets need to win 10 of the next 18 to get to at least 16 wins which is probably the bare minimum in the eyes of the committee
  • On the opposite end Virginia and Boston College might have issues with their SOS if they end up on the bubble.
  • Duke and Clemson have their RPI hurt by their respective schedules at 99th and 123rd respectively.