About The State of College Basketball™ Ratings
There are many different polls and models in college basketball, and "The State" is one of them. But this ratings system, which has been operational since 2007 (since 2011 on the women's side) offers a few things some of the others don't. TSoCB:

  • Rewards good on-court performance
  • Punishes bad home play
  • Uses possession-based statistics
  • Degrades older results
  • Is updated every hour during the season

Here's a quick rundown on how the ratings will be calculated during this season.

Phase 1. Standard Ratings

The Ratings Percentage Index gets a bad rap from diehard fans, but it isn't useless, not at all. A lot of NCAA scientists worked long and hard to put that formula together. We use it, along with the Strength of Schedule rating, as the basis for the first phase of TSoCBB.

((((RPI * 60) + (SOS * 40) * 100) * .01 + 50) * .5) * .01

This somewhat arbitrary math gives us a number that gives a mean value around 100, while maintaining an apples-to-apples context. Wake Forest, a 15-16 team in the tough ACC, ended 2006-07 with a 100.5518. UCLA led the way with 115.3503; a 4-14 SWAC team, Alabama A&M, was dead-last at 31.5760.

Phase 2. Location-Based Performance (LBP)

In college basketball, wins and losses are important but where they happen is much more so. Our ratings make use of a catch-basket of stats, with an emphasis on possession-based measurements. Each team is graded on a per-game basis in the following categories.

  • Points
  • Rebounds
  • Turnover Rate
  • Floor Percentage
  • Free Throw Percentage
  • Effective Field Goal %
  • Free Throw Production

Click here for more information on non-standard statistics.

For every game, the team's output in each category is divided by the opponent's, with total points included three times for emphasis. Then the nine numbers are averaged and then adjusted for the opponent's strength, resulting in a figure that is either above 100 (good performance) or below 100 (bad performance). The adjustment is such: the number is multiplied by the opponent's standard-rating value from Phase 1, so good performances against good teams aren't confused with those against clearly overmatched opponents, and elite teams are summarily punished for scheduling below their station. Likewise, games between two teams of lower stature result in both squads receiving appropriately low marks. The games in which one or both teams scored above 125 tended to be the "good games."

Finally, this figure is multiplied by the number of miles away from their home gym the game was played (Miles * .000015). This rewards teams for a.) playing on the road or at neutral sites and b.) playing well away from home. Wins are give a .2 point bonus.

Here are some random per-game ratings from this year (click for boxscores). They really are random, and they'll be different if you reload the page.

Feb 09, 2015 Morgan State vs. South Carolina State - 71.8
Nov 14, 2014 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. Notre Dame - 24.7
Dec 30, 2014 Eastern Michigan vs. Detroit - 72.7
Mar 22, 2015 Duke vs. Mississippi State - 124.9
Jan 24, 2015 New Orleans vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi - 34.1

You can view the past day's ratings, the best of the past week, and the 25 top team performances of the season on the Real Meat Report page.

Phase 3. Efficiency

Each team's performance in each game is also graded on the two most important possession-based categories of all: points per possession, and points allowed per defensive possession. These figures are normalized to result in numbers similar to those in Phase 2.

(O-PPP * 100) - ((D-PPP * 100) - 1)

The number is then multiplied by the opponent's standard-rating value from Phase 1.

It should be noted that for Phases 2 and 3, the game scores are fixed for the remainder of the season. Teams are graded on their performance against an opponent on that particular day, and it does not change no matter what the opponent does for the remainder of the season.

Here are some random per-game efficiency scores from this season.

Mar 07, 2015 Alabama A&M vs. Grambling State - 27.4
Jan 17, 2015 Mercer vs. Wofford - 69.5
Feb 21, 2015 Miami (Oh.) vs. Buffalo - 29.6
Nov 18, 2014 Charlotte vs. North Carolina State - 62.3
Jan 09, 2015 Georgetown vs. Providence - 67.0

You can view the past day's ratings, the best of the past week, and the 25 top team performances of the season on the Real Meat Report page.

Calculations and Degradation

To create the final Phase 2 and 3 numbers, the numbers are averaged... but not before a degradation process on old games is applied. The most recent game is not adjusted, but the second-oldest game score in each column is multiplied by .96, the third-oldest by .92, and so on. This ensures that the freshest results mean the most, so early-season wins won't mean as much when March rolls around.

UCLA finished first in Phase 2 (119.8052) for 2006-07, but were edged out in Phase 3 by North Carolina (112.0820). There were 45 teams over 100 in Phase 2 (No. 45 was Washington, 100.0973), and 44 over 100 in Phase 3 (Washington again at No. 44, 100.0824). The lowest teams finished with numbers in the mid-40's.


After the raw ratings are calculated, the final number is adjusted to reward road and conference wins, and punish league losses and unsuccessful defenses of the home court.

  • Road Wins: .5 point bonus
  • Conference Wins: .2 point bonus
  • Home Losses: 1.5 points penalty
  • Conference Losses: .2 point penalty

Of the top-level teams during 2006-07, none were as affected by this phase than Arizona. Seven conference losses and five home drops resulted in a -6.3 penalty. Duke was also hit hard, with a -6. Both teams went out quietly in the NCAA Tournament's first round, to lower seeds.

After the bonuses and penalties are added and deducted, there's one final adjustment: the number of losses is multiplied by 1 and deducted from the overall number (because losing is bad). Then each team has a final rating. Once again, you can view the results of the 2006-07 retroactive simulation here.

So there you have it. We hope you enjoy following along this season as we update The State of College Basketball on a regular basis. The ratings will be refreshed every hour, so keep checking back to see if your team is on the move!

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