Computer index puts Phoenix men in nation’s Top 40

Congratulations to Coach Brian Wardle and the Phoenix men’s basketball team! With a 13-3 overall record and a 3-0 start in conference play, they’re enjoying the promise of the program’s best season in years. One indicator is a continued lofty ranking (No. 39, on Tuesday) in The Daily RPI at The list is a replica of something called the Ratings Percentage Index, one of the tools used by the NCAA Selection Committee to rank every Division I team, No. 1 through 351. We’re not certain, and the ESPN version wasn’t operative in 1995-96, but it has probably been two decades since a Phoenix team had such a high RPI this far into a season. (Coach Mike Heideman’s first team, with future NBA player Jeff Nordgaard, made a February 1996 appearance in the AP Top 25, at No. 22, before quickly dropping out of the rankings with a loss at Wright State.) The current edition of the Phoenix is averaging a D-1 program-best 78.9 points per game, and riding an eight-game winning streak, longest since a nine-game stretch in early 2003-04.