Being swept by Washington was not all that detrimental to Arizona softball’s hopes of landing a top-8 seed in the NCAA Tournament, according to one metric.
The trio of losses dropped the Wildcats from No. 3 to No. 4 in the newest ratings percentage index (RPI) that was released Monday.
The reason Arizona only fell one spot is because RPI, the selection committee’s preferred metric, is comprised of a team’s winning percentage (25%), its opponents’ winning percentage (50%), and the winning percentage of those opponents’ opponents (25%).
In other words, strength of schedule is heavily factored into it and losing to Washington, who is No. 2 in RPI, is not exactly a résumé killer.
It will be interesting to see how Arizona fares in the national polls, though. The Wildcats were ranked sixth in the USA TODAY/NFCA Coaches Poll prior to being swept by Washington, suggesting they could be in danger of falling outside the top eight if they continue to lose.
The Wildcats wrap up the regular season this weekend at UCLA, who are third in RPI. If Arizona wins a game or two in Westwood, it would all but secure a spot as a top-eight seed.
But if the Wildcats lose all three? Things could get dicey on Selection Sunday.
“I’ve seen (the RPI) and where we were and I really don’t worry about it until they announce what’s going on,” Arizona coach Mike Candrea said after Sunday’s loss. “Because they get in that room and who knows what can happen. I think the only thing we can do is we gotta do a better job. This weekend obviously didn’t help us, and so we gotta find a way to help ourselves next weekend and then let the chips fall and get prepared for wherever we go or whoever we have here. I think we should be in decent shape to host. But I’d like to be up in that three, four, or five area.”