LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech is ranked No. 18 in this week's Associated Press Top 25 and in the initial NCAA NET rankings which were announced on Monday.
The Red Raiders (8-3, 1-2 Big 12) will host Kansas State at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the United Supermarkets Arena before traveling play Iowa State at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. Tech is coming off a week where it earned 79-51 non-conference win over Incarnate Word last Tuesday before falling to Oklahoma State in overtime on Saturday. Tech was ranked No. 13 last week and falls back five spots, but remains ranked for the seventh straight week to start the season.
The NET, which stands for the NCAA Evaluation Tool, replaced the RPI after the 2017-18 season and it is used as the primary sorting tool for selection and seeding for the NCAA tournament. The NET rankings will be updated daily through Selection Sunday and the latest rankings can be found here.
Gonzaga (10-0) remains the top-ranked team in the AP Top 25, followed by Baylor (9-0), Villanova (8-1), Texas (8-1) and Iowa (9-2) in the top-5. Kansas (8-2) drops from No. 3 to No. 6 after a home loss to the Longhorns on Saturday, while No. 14 West Virginia also fell five spots after a loss to Oklahoma. The Big 12 currently has five ranked teams while Oklahoma State and Oklahoma are now receiving votes in the ranking. Gonzaga and Baylor are also the top two teams in the NET.
Along with rankings being released on Monday morning, the NCAA announced it will stage the entire 2021 men's basketball championship in Indiana, with the majority of the tournament's 67 games taking place in Indianapolis. Selection Sunday is still scheduled for March 14, and plans remain to have the Final Four on April 3 and 5, with exact preliminary-round dates to be determined. Games will be played on two courts inside Lucas Oil Stadium, as well as Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington. Only one game at a time will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium.
CBS Sports and Turner Sports will continue to distribute all 67 games of the tournament across TBS, CBS, TNT, truTV and their digital platforms.
The Red Raiders rank fourth nationally by holding opponents to 56.3 points per game, fifth with a plus-7.5 turnover margin, are sixth with 193 free throws made, 13th with 19.0 turnovers forced per game and 15th by limiting the opposition to only 37.4 percent shooting. Tech leads the Big 12 with 4.5 blocks per game, scoring defense and has the fewest turnovers in the conference at 11.5 per game. Individually, Marcus Santos-Silva is second in the Big 12 with 1.45 blocks per game after matching a career-high with four on Saturday against OSU and is ninth in the Big 12 with 6.7 rebounds per game. Mac McClung leads Tech in scoring at 15.0 points per game and is third in the conference with 165 total points. McClung leads the Big 12 with 51 free throws made and is shooting 83.6 percent from the line, while Kyler Edwards is fifth in the conference with a 2.62 assist-to-turnover ratio and is 12th in the Big 12 with 34 total assists. Santos-Silva is second in the conference with 16 total blocks.
Here are important reminders about how the NET rankings will be used this season from NCAA.com:
- The NET rankings are used for the NCAA tournament. The rankings are released every day in an effort to be transparent but the NET rankings in January carry little significance during the selection process in March.
- The NET rankings do not include any preseason data, as many other popular metrics like KenPom and BPI do.
- Today (Jan. 4) is the 40th day of the season. In a typical year, teams will have played 10 to 12 games 40 days into the season. The average number of games played is slightly lower this year, and several teams have played fewer than five games thus far.
- Despite the unusual scheduling circumstances, the NET rankings are largely aligned with other metrics that the selection committee tracks. There are certainly outliers involving teams that have played very few games, but as more data becomes available with the addition of more games, the more stable the NET rankings will become.
- The NCAA entertained the idea of not including teams that have yet to play five Division I opponents but ultimately decided to include everyone, recognizing that all teams will soon reach that threshold.
- As always, the NET rankings do not include games played against non-Division I opponents.
- After two seasons of using the NET, the Division I men's basketball committee decided to tweak the NET in advance of this season, simplifying it to a two-component system. The first is the Team Value Index, a results-based feature that rewards teams for beating quality opponents, particularly away from home. This component was an original part of the NET. The other is an efficiency rating, which is adjusted for strength of opponent and location (home/away/neutral) across all games played.
- With teams playing home games with limited or no fans, the committee and staff is studying the impact that's having on home-court advantage compared to a typical year.