Diamonds and Ice


UNI best of mediocre lot?

Northern Iowa’s men’s basketball team winning a school-record 11 games in a row is a tremendous story. How many teams ever win 11 games in a row, let alone conference games? The Panthers look to have the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship under wraps.

But you can’t help wondering how much of all this is competition driven? Or lack of competition driven?

In the latest Collegiate Basketball News RPI (Rating Percentage Index), released Monday, Northern Iowa was 73rd, behind such luminaries as Buffalo, Tulsa, Northeastern and Northwestern.  Siena, which UNI (16-6) plays in the upcoming ESPN Bracket Busters, had an RPI of 20.

The Missouri Valley Conference ranked ninth among the 31 leagues, significantly down from its “heyday” of a couple years back. Illinois State actually was the MVC’s top RPI team at 59, and Evansville also ranked ahead of UNI at 70. Creighton was right behind the Panthers at 74.

For further comparison, Iowa came into the week at 89, Drake was 126 and Iowa State 134. Remember that Iowa clubbed UNI this season and Iowa State beat the Panthers as well.

What’s my point with all this? Not really sure.

What Northern Iowa has done this season to this point is terrific, but I think it may need to be put into a little perspective. The Missouri Valley Conference simply isn’t very good. 

Here’s a link to the latest RPI rankings:

http://www.rpiratings.com/mensrpi.html

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