This story was originally published Aug. 22, 2018, and has been updated with changes to the NET tool announced in May 2020.
The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee announced that beginning with the 2020-21 season, the NCAA Evaluation Tool will be changed to increase accuracy and simplify it by reducing a five-component metric to just two. The remaining factors include the Team Value Index (TVI), which is a result-based feature that rewards teams for beating quality opponents, particularly away from home, as well as an adjusted net efficiency rating.
The adjusted efficiency is a team’s net efficiency, adjusted for strength of opponent and location (home/away/neutral) across all games played. For example, a given efficiency value (net points per 100 possessions) against stronger opposition rates higher than the same efficiency against lesser opponents and having a certain efficiency on the road rates higher than the same efficiency at home.
No longer will the NET use winning percentage, adjusted winning percentage and scoring margin. The change was made after the committee consulted with Google Cloud Professional Services, which worked with the NCAA to develop the original NET.
“When we adopted the NET in 2018, we had reviewed several seasons worth of data and we insisted that we would continue to evaluate the metric,” said Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball. “We’ve been very satisfied with its performance thus far, but it became evident after two seasons of use that this change would be an improvement. While we will continue to monitor the metric, I don’t anticipate any additional adjustments for several years. We believe this change will result in more precision throughout the season and will be easier for our membership and the public to understand.
The updated NET is consistent with the women’s basketball NET, which was revealed last week after the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee worked with a team from Google Cloud to evaluate women’s basketball statistical data for a 10-year period.
In addition, the overall and non-conference strength of schedule has been modernized to reflect a truer measure for how hard it is to defeat opponents. The strength of schedule is based on rating every game on a team's schedule for how hard it would be for an NCAA tournament-caliber team to win. It considers opponent strength and site of each game, assigning each game a difficulty score. Aggregating these across all games results in an overall expected win percentage versus a team's schedule, which can be ranked to get a better measure of the strength of schedule.