Frequent readers of this poll and fans of the Fighting Illini have noted that while the Illini have spent three consecutive weeks as the unanimous #1 and eleven weeks atop the national polls, they have bounced around from first to seventh in the RPI, at times being ranked behind teams they have beaten. Even now, with most of the other top teams suffering conference losses while the Illini remain unblemished, Illinois is stuck behind Kansas at the #2 spot.
Confused? Well, you're not alone. David Brown of the Northwest Herald looks at the "out of this world" RPI rating of the Illini and concludes that it is as difficult to explain as space travel. Read the rest of the instructive column here
. Hat tip to Yoni Cohen at College Basketball
for the link.
Bonus Illini Wonk observation: RPI can be a useful tool when sorting out who is last in and last out of the NCAA Tournament, but it's not particularly effective for judging who the best team is in college hoops. Illinois is penalized in the RPI for playing teams like Longwood and Deleware State, but does anyone other than Carol Slezak really believe that playing them makes the Illini a worse team?