With only one game remaining in the regular season, the Owls are looking ahead to their involvement in the first-ever American Athletic Conference tournament.
The Ratings Percentage Index, or RPI, ranking currently has the Owls at No. 45 in the country. The RPI is a ranking system based on the team’s wins and losses, the strength of the team’s schedule and the strength of the opposition’s schedule. It helps determine who gets a bid to the NCAA tournament.
There are 48 teams that make it to the tournament, but only the Top 16 teams are seeded. The 22 conference champions receive automatic qualification. For the Owls to make the tournament, they’ll have to at least maintain their status within the Top 50 in RPI rankings.
The only teams in The American with a better RPI than Temple are Louisville and Connecticut, who are ranked at No. 26 and No. 22, respectively. The Owls are currently ranked No. 27 in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer after winning their first conference game on Oct. 19 against Memphis.
Coach David MacWilliams has expressed a desire for his team to stay hungry until the end.
“The most important thing is the RPI,” MacWilliams said. “If you’re ranked, you’re having a good year. But I’d rather have [a] higher RPI than be ranked. But having both, I think it’s a credit to our team and being noticed by other schools and the league.”
“As a team, we would love to be ranked and receive the recognition, but we know our goal is to win The [American tournament] and make it to the NCAA tournament,” senior midfielder Ryan Bradbury said.
Unlike in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament, every team in The American will compete in the conference playoffs. But only the eighth and ninth seeded teams will play in the first round to fight for the last playoff spot that leads to the eight-team playoff system.
Winning the conference, however, gives a team an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The other schools will rely upon their RPI rankings.
The Owls currently have a 9-3-4 record after tying Central Florida this past weekend.
Temple will wrap up its regular season schedule on Nov. 2 against Cincinnati at the Ambler Sports Complex.
Hoon Jin can be reached at email@example.com or at Twitter @hjin6.