Sun Belt's conference RPI ranks best in nine seasons

The Sun Belt Conference is enjoying a basketball resurgence that hasn't been seen in nine seasons.

Through Tuesday's games, the Sun Belt ranks 14th in conference Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). The Sun Belt hasn't finished that high since the 2004-2005 season when it finished 13th.

The secret this year has been both the success of Middle Tennessee and of the bottom teams in the conference. The Sun Belt doesn't have a team ranked in the 300s this season.

The same was true in the 2004-2005 season -- at least on the back end. The worst RPI team in the conference that season was New Mexico State at 292. On the high end, Louisiana-Lafayette (47), Western Kentucky (75) and UALR (79) all finished inside the top 100. UALR was actually much higher in unofficial calculations most of that season. Then the NCAA released a slightly altered RPI formula and UALR dropped. Eventually, UALR was left out of postseason after a quarterfinal upset in the Sun Belt Tournament.