MORNING BRIEFING: Surprises in first men's RPI

Defending champion Wake Forest is the top-ranked team in the first RPI index the NCAA released this fall.

St. John's and Louisville of the Big East are No. 2 and No. 3, while unbeaten Loyola (Md.) of the MAAC is the surprise at No. 4.

(Click here for the complete RPI.)

Besides Wake Forest and Loyola, the only other unbeaten teams are Northwestern, UIC and Saint Louis, which ranked No. 7, No. 22 and No. 34, respectively, in the RPI rankings released Tuesday.

The Big East leads all conferences with five teams in the RPI's top 25.

Reflecting the parity in college soccer, 13 conferences are represented in the top 25. The others are the Big Ten (4 teams), ACC (3), Big West (2), Missouri Valley (2), Conference USA (2), MAAC (1), Pac-10 (1), Atlantic 10 (1), CAA (1), Mid-American (1), Horizon (1) and Summit (1).

The most notable absentees from the top 25 are the Ivy League (Dartmouth is 27th) and WCC (San Diego is 78th).

Other conferences with automatic bids without teams in the top 25 are America East, Atlantic Sun, MPSF, Big South, Northeast, Patriot and Southern.

The RPI -- Ratings Percentage Index -- is the most important of the criteria it uses to determine the 48-team field for the NCAA Division I Men's Tournament. The RPI is a mathematical formula designed to objectively compare results and strength of schedule.

On Monday, Nov. 17, the day after the end of the regular season, the NCAA will announce the selection of the 26 at-large teams to go along with the 22 automatic qualifiers. (Click here for NCAA Tournament rules.)

MEN'S RPI (TOP 25)
(In parentheses is this week's Soccer America ranking)
1  Wake Forest ACC (1)
2  St. John's Big East (8)
3  Louisville Big East (7)
4  Loyola  (Md.) MAAC (22)
5  Notre Dame Big East (21)
6 Creighton Missouri Valley (2)
7 Northwestern Big Ten (5)
8 South Fla. Big East (10)
9 UC Davis Big West (17)
10 California Pac-10 (9)
11 Indiana Big Ten (23)
12 Virginia ACC (18)
13 Michigan Big Ten (13)
14 Ohio St. Big Ten (16)
15 SMU Conference USA (T25)
16 UC Santa Barbara Big West (15)
17 Connecticut Big East (11)
18 Charlotte Atlantic 10 (20)
19 William & Mary CAA (NR)
20 Maryland ACC (12)
21 Akron Mid-American (3)
22 UIC Horizon (4)
23 Drake Missouri Valley (NR)
24 Tulsa Conference USA (14)
25 Oakland Summit (NR)

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