Filippo Posta comes from a little village near Siena, Tuscany in Italy. He always dreamed of playing professional soccer and going to America. The soccer thing did not pan out despite making as much as a half-million per week…in Italian liras (about $20 USD). Dr. Posta’s passion for teaching and doing research in math landed him a scholarship to study at NJIT. After graduating, he switched coasts and ended up at GCU (via UCLA). What a blessing!
The Grand Canyon University Antelopes are rising to the top as the best men’s college basketball team in Phoenix! After finishing third in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) during their first two seasons in NCAA Division I, they finished second this year, with an outstanding overall record of 27-6.
This March, the Antelopes are continuing to prove why they are a team to beat, advancing to the quarterfinals in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. They will play Costal Carolina University in South Carolina on Wednesday, March 23. At the end of this season, GCU will have one more season before they are eligible for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament, known to many as March Madness.
However, I am a mathematician, and while the previous discussions about GCU’s success are good enough for a fun debate about why GCU is a team to watch, I would rather find a more objective measure.
To find this measure, I could get a bunch of scientists together, and they could look at different statistics to find a formula that measures how teams rank against each other.
Luckily, this has already been done by the NCAA. In 1981, the NCAA started using the Rating Percentage Index (RPI) to rank all teams in its Division I sports. RPI uses team’s wins, losses and strength of schedule to rank teams. The NCAA and other organizations use it for tournament selections and other comparisons.
In 2016, three years after entering Division I, the Grand Canyon University men’s college basketball team finished the season at 92 out of 351 teams on the RPI rankings. This ranking makes GCU the top ranked Division I men’s college basketball team in the WAC and the second ranked team in the state of Arizona.
So, Phoenix, keep your eyes on the GCU men’s basketball team as they continue to advance to the top with their successful rankings and team achievements.
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