Hawai’i edges Long Beach State for top spot in first RPI rankings of season

Photo courtesy of Hawai’i athletics

Long Beach State may be No. 1 in the national polls, but Hawai’i is atop the rankings that matter for NCAA Tournament selection.

The Rainbow Warriors finished No. 1 and one spot ahead of the defending NCAA champions 49er in the season’s inaugural RPI rankings that were released Monday.

The RPI is one of the criteria categories the selection committee uses to determine the NCAA Tournament field. A team’s RPI ranking is calculated using a mathematical formula that includes its winning percentage, strength of schedule and opponents’ strength of schedule.

Both Hawai’i and Long Beach State are the only remaining undefeated teams in the nation. In addition, the two teams have lost a combined four games the entire season.

Along with the Rainbow Warriors and 49ers, three schools from the Big West earned top-five spots in the RPI.

UC Santa Barbara earned the No. 4 ranking, while two MPSF schools — Pepperdine at No. 3 and UCLA at No. 5 — round-out the top five.

An updated RPI rankings will be released each Monday throughout the regular season and conference tournaments. The final RPI rankings before the seven-team NCAA Tournament will be unveiled on Selection Sunday, April 21.

RPI rankings (March 17)

1. Hawai’i
2. Long Beach State
3. Pepperdine
4. UC Santa Barbara
5. UCLA
6. Stanford
7. BYU
8. UC Irvine
9. Lewis
10. CSUN
11. Loyola
12. USC
13. Barton
14. Grand Canyon
15. Ball State
16. King
17. Purdue Fort Wayne
18. George Mason
19. Penn State
20. Lincoln Memorial
21. Princeton
22. North Greenville
23. Concordia-Irvine
24. Belmont Abbey
25. St. Francis
26. Ohio State
27. UC San Diego
28. McKendree
29. Mount Olive
30. Lindenwood
31. Limestone
32. Erskine
33. Queens
34. Harvard
35. NJIT
36. Emmanuel
37. Quincy
38. Coker
39. Charleston
40. Sacred Heart
41. Lees-McRae
42. Daemen
43. Alderson Broaadus