Iowa’s RPI Takes a Huge Hit – Thanks to New Jersey Tech

I’m not trying to be a buzzkill after Iowa’s overtime men’s basketball victory over Wisconsin Wednesday. No matter how this season turns out for the Hawkeyes, that win was a nice moment for the, and especially the Absolutely Fabulous David Palmer.

But on the same night, in sort-of-fabulous Newark, N.J., something happened that negatively impacted Iowa’s RPI.

There, the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders defeated the Bryant Bulldogs, 61-51.

That was NJIT’s first win in 52 games. It was the only winless team in NCAA Division I last season, setting an NCAA mark for losses with a season with 29. The Highlanders¬†had been D-I’s last-remaining winless club this season.

For video on this historic triumph, go to this Newark Star-Ledger page at http://www.nj.com/sports/njsports/index.ssf/2009/01/video_njit_gets_in_the_win_col.html.

But how does that affect Iowa? Well, the Hawkeyes played Bryant, of Smithfield, R.I., on Dec. 5. The Hawks claimed a 61-36 victory over the team that is now 3-16. So, Bryant’s loss to such a woeful foe hurts Iowa’s strength-of-schedule.

At No. 329 in the latest RPI rankings out of the 344 D-I teams (New Jersey Tech stayed 344th even with the win), Bryant simply isn’t helping the Hawkeyes’ cause.

The Hawks will probably just have to keep winning rather than depend on past opponents like Bryant to lift their boat.

But f0r today, Iowa and New Jersey Tech are riding high. Good for both of them.

The Highlanders got some criticism amid the praise for their win in reader comments on the Star-Ledger’s story from the game¬† http://www.nj.com/sports/njsports/index.ssf/2009/01/njit.html. My favorite remark was this:

I challenge the haters here to go one-on-one with any player from NJIT or Bryant. Not only will they poke you in the eye with one hand while laying in a finger roll with the other, they will then fix your hard drive or complete your taxes after wiping the floor with you.

New Jersey Tech is at Longwood Saturday. That was the last team the Highlanders had beaten, 702 days before the monster victory over Bryant.

It’s exciting, isn’t it?

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