LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- What if I told you there was a college basketball computer power formula that ranked the University of Louisville tied for eighth nationally, ahead of Xavier, Ohio State, Clemson and, yes, even Kentucky?

There is. StatFox.

Calm down. Read on.

What if I told you there was another computer formula than had John Calipari's team ranked 11th, ahead of Auburn, Duke, Ohio State and, yes, Louisville?

There is. Talismanred.com, which was not created by created by Ashley Judd, because she would have named it Talismanblue.com

Now I've got everybody excited. Or angry. And certainly confused.

It's dangerous splashing in the deep end of the computer formulas. Sooo many numbers and confusing formulas.

There are at least 55 computer formulas in college basketball this season. The average results from all 55 could not be closer if John Calipari and David Padgett shook hands.

According to the numbers at MasseyRatings.com, Kentucky is the consensus No. 30 team in America. Louisville is 31.

Beware. As ESPN analyst Jay Bilas tweeted last Sunday, after the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee released its top 16 teams for next month:

Garbage in, garbage out.

I believe that was a shot at the NCAA's Ratings Percentage Index formula. But if you're going to follow one formula, the RPI, sadly, must be on your list.

Look for quality wins. That is what matters. Not conference standings. Not your performance over the last 10 games.

Quality wins. Start there.

Collect them. Brag about them. Keep collecting. You can never have enough.

Louisville has two -- in eight tries. But remember this: Louisville's final five regular season games all qualify as Quadrant 1 games, giving the Cards' five legitimate shots to improve their NCAA Tournament profile.

After losing at Auburn Wednesday, Kentucky has the same record as Louisville against Quadrant 1 competition -- 2-6.

Of Kentucky's final five games, three (Arkansas and Florida on the road, plus the home game with Missouri) are Quadrant 1 opportunities. Alabama and Ole Miss are Q2.

The Quadrant System (1-through-4) is the wrinkle the committee added to its deliberations this season. They want to give some victories more juice than others. Applaud here.

Victories are separated into four "quadrants." You earn a Quadrant One win by beating a Top 30 team at home, a Top 50 team on a neutral site and a Top 75 team on the road.

Kentucky's Quadrant One record features wins against Texas A&M at home and West Virginia on the road.

Louisville's big wins were over Florida State and Notre Dame. (The Notre Dame win could dissolve into a Quadrant Two win. The Irish have lost eight of their last 10 without the injured Bonzie Colson. Notre Dame is 72 in the RPI. If the Irish fall out of the Top 75, it's no longer a Q1 win.)

Makes sense -- almost.


Serious students of analytics are generally dismissive of the RPI. The formula is too simplistic: The index comprises a team's winning percentage (25%), its opponents' winning percentage (50%), and the winning percentage of those opponents' opponents (25%).

There are better formulas, the ones that include factors like tempo, margin of victory, offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency, free throw rate and on and on.

There is Jeff Sagarin. There is Ken Pomeroy. There is Kevin Pauga. There is Erik Haslam. There is Bart Torvik.

Those will get you started.

Which team is favored by those numbers -- Louisville or Kentucky?

David Padgett's team.

The Cardinals are rated ahead of the Wildcats by Pomeroy (27 to 34); Sagarin Predictor (16 to 23); Haslametrics (18 to 32) and Torvik (21 to 34).

John Calipari's team wins Pauga -- UK is 26 and U of L 39.

More importantly, considering what the committee values, Kentucky has a solid lead in the RPI (UK is ranked 20, U of L 40) and on the scoreboard (Cats by 29).

That explains why on Thursday, Kentucky was a consensus Six seed for the NCAA Tournament at BracketMatrix.com and Louisville was in the considerably more vulnerable territory. The Cards were a 10 seed.

It's 24 days until Selection Sunday. Both teams have plenty of work ahead. Just as we have plenty of fussing.

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