Lopsided wins helping Raiders soar in NET rankings

Wright State forward James Manns connects for three over Youngstown State forward Naz Bohannon during a Horizon League game at the Nutter Center in Fairborn Jan. 9, 2021. Wright State won 93-55. Contributed photo by E.L. Hubbard

Combined ShapeCaption
Wright State forward James Manns connects for three over Youngstown State forward Naz Bohannon during a Horizon League game at the Nutter Center in Fairborn Jan. 9, 2021. Wright State won 93-55. Contributed photo by E.L. Hubbard

FAIRBORN — Wright State has won seven straight Horizon League games and keeps climbing up the NET rankings, putting itself in some pretty heady company.

But while the Raiders’ 15-4 record is impressive, it could be even better considering two of the losses were by two points to Youngstown State and Cleveland State and a third, at Oakland, was winnable. The Raiders were up nine in the second half before falling by 10.

ExploreRaiders sweep UIC

But as far as coach Scott Nagy is concerned, he wants his team to zero in on what’s ahead and allow fans to contemplate what might have been.

“It’d be nice if we were (18-1), but we’re not. You are what you are,” he said.

“It’s been such a strange year with our wins. We’ve got 15 wins, and the closest one is nine points. We’ve been crushing teams. The reason we’re doing it is because we’ve been good on both ends.”

The Raiders certainly exceled on offense and defense once again at UIC over the weekend, winning by 25 and 20.

Their average scoring margin this season of 17.4 points is fifth in the country. They’re 11th in defensive efficiency, giving up 0.868 points per possession, and 16th in offensive efficiency with an average of 1.105 points each time they have the ball.

That’s one of the reasons they’re a season-high 56th in the NET rankings, just behind Syracuse and UConn and just ahead of Stanford and Oregon.

The NET is the computer component the NCAA selection committee uses for at-large berths and seeding.

It replaced the RPI three years ago, and the NCAA simplified it this year from five metrics to two: Team value index and adjusted efficiency ratings.

The TVI, according to the NCAA, “is a result-based feature that rewards teams for beating quality opponents.”

The AER is points per possession, adjusted for the location of the game and strength of the opponent.

ExploreSophomore class gives Nagy a big reason to smile

The latter certainly has helped the Raiders, which is why they’re so much higher than No. 188 Cleveland State despite trailing the Vikings by one game in the league standings.

In the RPI — which has a formula based on winning percentage, opponents’ winning percentage and opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage — the Raiders are 91st and the Vikings 53rd.

“I don’t pay much attention to (the NET) because it doesn’t mean a whole lot now,” said Nagy, whose team finished 127th last season while going 25-7.

“It’s nice to be able to talk about. But it probably will be hard the next four games to get it much higher.”

The Raiders (13-3 in the league) finish the regularseason with two games against Milwaukee (7-8, 6-6) at home this weekend and two at Northern Kentucky (11-8, 8-5) on Feb. 19-20.

The Vikings (14-5, 14-2) host Detroit Mercy (8-8, 7-5) for two games this weekend and finish at Purdue Fort Wayne (6-11, 5-11) on Feb 19-20.

CSU has won four in row, and its victories have come by six points, eight, eight and two. Wright State’s average spread during its seven-game winning streak is 25.2.

Both contenders face hot teams down the stretch. Detroit has won five in a row, NKU six.

“Every close game, they seem to pull out,” Nagy said of the Vikings. “We’re doing a good job of keeping the pressure on them.

“Detroit is playing well. But at some point, you can’t worry about them. You’ve got to lock in on the next game, which, for us, is Milwaukee.”

FRIDAY’S GAME

Milwaukee at Wright State, 7 p.m., Friday, ESPN3, 106.5

About the Author