The NCAA tinkered with the RPI over the summer, penalizing teams for home losses & giving bonus points for road wins. The result is that there are some strange names with high rankings in the RPI - which could mean some unusual names getting picked for the tournament & some odd seeds.
Based on the latest RPI, the MAC would get 4 teams in the tournament - as many as CUSA & the Pac Ten. Included would be Miami (O), Akron, Kent State, & SUNY Buffalo. The Missouri Valley Conference would get 3 - Southern Illinois, Northern Iowa, & Wichita State. The West Coast would get St. Mary's in addition to Gonzaga. The Big West would get Nevada in addition to Pacific.
Gonzaga would get a #3 seed.
Southern Illinois would get a #4 seed.
Utah would get a #5 seed.
Miami (O) would get a #6 seed.
Pacific would get a #7 seed.
Northern Iowa would get a #8 seed.
Theoretically this means that all of the above would be favored in the first round. It also sets up potential second round match-ups of Gonzaga-Miami (O) & Southern Illinois-Utah, with the winners going to the Sweet Sixteen. While these are all programs that have had their moments in past tournaments, they did so via upsets, not because seedings made them favorites in the first two rounds.
I don't think that this will happen, but it shows that the selection committee has its work cut out for them. If they honor the priorities set up by the revisions, some teams that are not household names will have an inside track early in the tournament.
At the other end of the seeding process, there will be some interesting problems at the top of the brackets. North Carolina & Duke would be #2 seeds, using the latest RPI. They are arguably 2 of the top 3 teams in the country. If either of them is placed in the same bracket with Illinois, that would be one heck of a regional final! Kentucky is in line for a #3 seed & they are arguably one of the top 6 teams. Paired against Duke or Carolina, the loser would then be shut out of the Elite 8.
The potential wild card in the tournament could be Louisville, based on current RPIs. Although they are probably a top 8 team, they are currently in line for a #6 seed. I'd hate to be the #3 seed that gets matched up against Louisville in the second round! :o
To a lesser extent, Michigan State, probably a top 10 caliber team, could sink to a #5 seed, making a miserable day for some #4 seed in the second round.
Potential first round nightmares could be Florida (#10 seed) & Pitt (#12 seed). How would you like to meet either of them in the first round if you are a #7 or #5 seed. Northern Iowa & Old Dominion could be seeded ahead of Florida & Akron, St. Mary's, Kent State, Holy Cross, & SUNY Buffalo could all be seeded ahead of Pitt! :P Until their upset at BC Monday night, Pitt was in danger of not even making the tournament, based on the RPI.
Of couse, much will change after the conference tournaments. But nonetheless, it promises to be an interesting Selection Sunday. Look for Billy Packer to go even more wild than usual. >:( It promises to be an even more interesting tournament. 8-)
P.S. - Gunnerfan, Georgia Tech is positioned to make the tournament & get a #9 seed. ;)