Some quick thoughts about the seeding and the snubs -- the big-namers, not the mid-majors. Given the length to which the Tournament selection committee went to add mid-majors at the expense of seemingly deserving major conference teams, no non-major conference team has a legitimate gripe. All RPIs taken from here.
First, the snubs. It is ridiculous for Michigan or Florida State to whine about getting dropped to the NIT. Michigan (RPI 47) had a colossal choke job losing seven of its last nine, while conference rival Indiana surged from the depths of stinkdom to reach the Tournament. How anyone can complain that the Big Tenplusone received a lack of respect with six teams in the NCAA (54.5% of its membership, compared to 50% for the Big East) is puzzling at the least. Maryland's claims also founder on: 5-8 finish, honking the first round of the ACC, and an RPI of 49 -- too close to some other schools that finished stronger but were ranked just lower (Air Force, NCSU).
Florida State's exclusion is a message to big conference schools: SCHEDULE COMPETITIVE GAMES -- that means a preseason schedule against Big Ten basketcase Purdue, Big 12 bottomfeeder Nebraska, Stetson, Jacksonville, Louisiana-Monroe, et al. does not count. Only its pre-ACC matchup with Florida involved FSU in a game against a top 50 RPI team; the 'Noles lost. Worse yet, FSU (RPI 63) went 9-7 in the ACC but did NOT have to play NCSU, UNC or BC twice. That also hurts the schedule strength. Losing in the ACC tourney quarters to Wake Forest, which ended its abysmal ACC campaign 3-13, is another knock on the 'Noles.
Cincinnati had the best case: road wins over Marquette and Syracuse, home wins over LSU and West Virginia and the team had overcome no small amount of adversity to ring up an 8-8 Big East record. Cincy's RPI (40) is higher than eight of the at-large entrants in the NCAA field. The resume is not bad and those road wins should have had the Committee take more notice.
As for the seeds: Pitt (24-7) got shafted. With 24 wins, including W. Va. and Villanove in the Big East Tourney, Pitt deserved better (just as it did in 2004) -- this is a #3 seed ranked #11 in the RPI, not a five. I think BC deserved a 3-seed, but its RPI is in the 20s.
Tennessee is the most obviously overranked. Sorry, but no team deserves a #2 seed with a 21-7 record and four losses in its last six games. The Vols are #6 in the RPI, which is curious in and of itself because Tennessee's non-conference schedule consisted of Memphis (loss), Texas (big win) and a bunch of stiffs that FSU would normally play. Considering how the committee deviated at least two seedings from the RPI in other situations (#6 for RPI-38 WVU; #6 for RPI-34 Indiana; #7 for RPI-36 Georgetown; #6 for RPI-16 Oklahoma), the refusal to drop Tennessee is indefensible. There should be penalties for losing to non-Tourney teams in the quarters of your conference tournament.
And, as usual, a Syracuse-centric note: SU's RPI is 17 now, thanks to four wins over RPI top 50 teams on a neutral floor. The way the RPI is determined is that road wins are given a 40% bonus within the formula (the rating for the win is multiplied by 1.4); home wins are given a 40% deduction (the rating is multiplied by 0.6); and neutral court wins are tallied without adjustment. Thus, SU's four wins in NYC counted far more than a similar run at the Carrier Dome would have. The home/road/neutral factoring is another reason why FSU's win over Duke did NOT clinch the 'Noles an NCAA berth.