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San Diego State, Gonzaga get top mid-major billing in first NET rankings

Dayton also drops in at 10th after its explosive start.

San Diego State v Houston
Matt Mitchell and the Aztecs are sitting pretty.
Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The season’s first NET rankings shined on a couple of mid-majors teams from mid-major leagues.

Undefeated San Diego State (10-0) sits at third in the unveiling, while Gonzaga (11-1) is sixth. The lofty placement should come as no surprise for either, as the Aztecs have solid wins over BYU, Creighton and Iowa, and the Zags have done their typically great non-conference work, beating a slew of ranked teams (Washington, Oregon, Arizona).

That the two teams aren’t flipped may be a surprise to some, but the NET apparently values SDSU’s undefeated record and quality efficiency metrics.

For its part, Dayton is not far behind at 10th. The Flyers (8-1) exploded onto the scene at the Maui Invitational and have looked like one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the country.

As a reminder, the NET replaced RPI as the NCAA’s primary evaluation tool last season and, according to the NCAA, factors in game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin, net offensive and defensive efficiency and the quality of wins and losses. The Selection Committee reportedly considered making tweaks to the NET after last season, but felt it was good enough to keep the formula static.

Last year, the first NET rankings were unveiled a few weeks earlier, which caused some oddities (we miss you, top 10 Loyola Marymount). With materially more games to consider this time around, the 2019-20 debut seems to be more representative of reality.

Here are some other observations from the initial list:

  • Liberty’s soft schedule didn’t harm it as the Flames slot in at 19. The ASun schedule will do them no favors and will cause that drop, but that’s a lofty starting spot.
  • Coming of a week in which Northern Iowa beat a ranked Colorado team on the road, the sudden-Missouri Valley favorite drops in at 28.
  • The formula respects the A-10’s great start. Three teams sit within the top 22 (Dayton, Duquesne, Richmond), with four others sprinkled between there and 72 (VCU, Saint Louis, George Mason, Rhode Island).
  • The same can be said for the WCC, with five teams in the top 91 (Gonzaga, BYU, Saint Mary’s, San Francisco, Santa Clara).
  • Stephen F. Austin, who we’ve received plenty of stick for not ranking in the Other Top 25, is at 74.
  • At 4-6, North Texas finds itself in the top 100 (98) and ahead of teams like Furman, ETSU and Bowling Green.
  • Two other top 100 entrants that may surprise people: South Dakota (83) and Sacramento State (93).

Remember, this will all change, but isn’t it fun to have another ranking to get all emotional over.