DETROIT – Michigan basketball improved to 10-0 this weekend with a win over South Carolina and rose to No. 1 in the NET rankings.
The NCAA Evaluation Tool rankings replaced the outdated RPI and will be the top tool for the NCAA Tournament committee to determine the field of 68 and assign seeds. The NET takes into account efficiency, strength of opponents, winning percentage, scoring margin and an algorithm that rewards teams based on level of competition and where games are played.
Michigan debuted at No. 4 when the first NET rankings were released Nov. 26. It spent more than a week in the No. 2 spot before moving up to No. 1 Monday due to Virginia's struggles against VCU. The Cavaliers won the game but did so unimpressively, scoring just 57 points and winning by eight.
One of the components of the NET rankings is a winning margin cap of 10 points. That means if a team wins by double digits, it's considered a 10-point win no matter what. This was done to discourage coaches from unnecessarily running up the score.
Nine of Michigan's 10 wins came by at least double digits, including Saturday's 89-78 victory over South Carolina. Only Northwestern could keep it close against Michigan, losing by two points in Evanston.
The Wolverines have several impressive NET wins. They beat No. 16 North Carolina by 17 points, No. 19 Purdue by 19 points and No. 25 Villanova on the road by 27 points. They also beat No. 46 Northwestern on the road.
That gives Michigan four Quadrant 1 wins -- wins over top 30 teams at home, top 50 teams at neutral sites or top 75 teams on the road.
Michigan is one of only nine undefeated teams left in the country, along with Virginia, Texas Tech, Nevada, Kansas, Buffalo, Houston, Furman and St. John's.
There are 10 Big Ten teams ranked in the NET top 50. Here are the full conference ranks:
9. Michigan State
13. Ohio State
80. Penn State
Michigan has a quiet end of December with games against Western Michigan, Air Force and Binghamton. None of those teams are ranked in the NET top 200.