There can be no doubt that the biggest factor pulling down our NCAA Tournament chances right now is our RPI and/or Strength of Schedule, at least from what I've seen. After yesterday's harmful win -- yes, harmful -- against Colorado, our RPI fell from 74 to 77. We are listed on Joe Lunardi's list of "Vegetarians" because of our 12-1 record against the RPI Sub-150. That made me curious, so I checked out the sub-150 teams we've played in non-conference. They are listed below:
Southern Miss (162)
Idaho State (198)
Chicago State (237)
Florida A&M (309)
SE Missouri State (339)
Not an impressive list, to be sure. But, from a purely national perception perspective -- in other words, not taking into account the actual quality of the teams, but only looking at how they are seen nationally -- would our schedule have looked any more impressive if we had played the following 10 teams? (Note, I'm not using ESPN's RPI, so I only have 10 sub-150 games)
Sam Houston State (135)
Morgan State (136)
Texas A&M -- Corpus Christi (137)
Southern Illinois (145)
Kent State (150)
Obviously the answer to my rhetorical question above is "No, the national perception of our schedule would not be any better had we played the latter 10 teams rather than the 10 teams we actually played." We would not have gained any marquee wins by playing those 10 teams. We likely would have had the same record against the latter 10 teams as we did the 10 teams we actually played. The only thing that would have changed would be a numerical ranking that Ken Pomeroy doesn't believe in anymore.
Let's hope the NCAA Tournament Committee has a similar feeling.