Dana Altman hasn’t studied the NCAA’s new Net rankings system.
The metric that was created to replace the RPI as an evaluation tool for the NCAA selection committee drew plenty of criticism when its inaugural ranking Monday listed Ohio State at No. 1 while Gonzaga and Duke were fifth and sixth, respectively. Loyola Marymount was No. 10, ahead of Kansas.
Oregon was No. 39 before tumbling 67 spots to No. 106 after losing 89-84 to Texas Southern on Monday. By Wednesday, the Ducks were up to No. 75 without having played another game, presumably because their win over Syracuse looked better after the Orange beat Ohio State.
Many observers of college basketball seem confused by the process, but Altman isn’t trying to figure it out.
“I don’t look at any of that,” Altman said. “I don’t look at it when we win and I don’t look at it when we lose. There is nothing we can do to change it, just play the schedule that we have.”
Oregon can boost its status in the Net rankings by winning Saturday at Houston, which is No. 33 after a 5-0 start. The Cougars are the highest-ranked opponent in that poll remaining on the nonconference schedule for the Ducks (4-2), whose loss to Texas Southern will likely haunt their postseason resume.
“That was a terrible loss, but we are going to have to overcome it,” UO guard Payton Pritchard said. “We know that we don’t have much margin for error left. We’ve got to win, that’s just it. We know where we are at and this is another challenge, so we just have to go for it.”
Altman called the defeat to the 2-4 Tigers “something that should not happen at the University of Oregon to our basketball program, but it did."
Houston has a win at BYU to go with four home victories, but the Cougars will play for the first time this season on their new home court at the Fertitta Center following a $60 million renovation.
“That is what you play basketball for, to play in an atmosphere like that and compete with a good team,” Pritchard said.
Senior guard Corey Davis leads Houston with 20.0 points per game while junior guard Armoni Brooks averages 14.0. Galen Robinson gives the Cougars three guards shooting at least 40 percent on three-pointers.
“Their three-point percentages are off the charts,” Altman said. “They are a deep group and a tough group. They are opening up a re-done building so it is going to be a very emotional night for them and a very tough atmosphere."