The Rating Percentage Index is the most prominent of several metrics used to help determine the NCAA tournament field. Historically, teams that rank
between 50 and 70 on the RPI scale are on the bubble. Compare the RPI profiles of the index's top 100 teams.
Of the 216 at-large berths given out since March Madness expanded to 68 teams in 2011, 194 (91.5 percent) were given to teams ranked No. 50 or better in the Rating Percentage Index; conversely, only one team – Syracuse last year – earned an at-large
berth while ranked worse than 70th. The other key component is total losses; no team with more than 14 losses has ever received an at-large berth (though that could change this year).
The tide, however, might be changing. Advanced statistical metrics, such as KenPom.com, Jeff Sagarin and BPI, are gaining influence among college basketball analysts and could be reshaping the bubble – as evidenced by Syracuse’s inclusion in 2016.