As March Madness quickly approaches, it’s pretty hard to avoid conversations about RPI, good wins, bad losses and strength of schedule.
The stat-heavy RPI rewards teams for playing strong opponents. Sometimes, a loss to a great foe pays more dividends than a win over an inferior opponent.
But, when you beat a great team then tourney prospects and RPI numbers really brighten. That’s the case for the Iowa State women’s basketball team.
A five-point Senior Day triumph over third-ranked Baylor came at just the right time for Bill Fennelly’s team.
“It doesn’t hurt (our tourney prospects),” Fennelly said after his team’s third win over a Top Ten school this season.
Iowa State is in the company of UConn, South Carolina, Notre Dame and Tennessee as women’s programs with at least three victories over Top 10 schools.
The Huskies beat Notre Dame, Duke and South Carolina; the Gamecocks beat Duke, Kentucky and Tennessee; the Irish beat Tennessee, Duke and Louisville; and the Lady Vols beat Stanford, Oregon State, Texas A&M and Kentucky (twice).
UConn, South Carolina, Notre Dame and Tennessee are among the small number of schools with realistic shots at No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
Fennelly just wants to take his team to the dance for the ninth year in a row.
“Certainly it (the Baylor win) was a game – for the NCAA Committee – that gives us something to brag about,” Fennelly said.