Milwaukee a big benefactor of NIT's seeding rules
Northwestern's opponent in the NIT, Milwaukee, appears to be one of the biggest benefactors of the seeding rules that go along with the NIT. The committee has the right when seeding teams to move them a complete seed line if it will help foster geographic interest. Here's the rule straight from the official Principles and Procedures (PDF).
"An institution may be moved one bracket line from its true seed line (e.g., from a No. 6 seed to a No. 7 seed) when it is placed in the bracket if necessary to meet the principles."
From examining the bracket it appears that there were a few teams that were influenced by this rule. For one it looks like Nebraska was kicked down a seed line in order for the Cornhuskers to play Wichita State - though the 4-5 match up end result seems entirely fair. It also seems like Milwaukee benefitted from it as the Panthers got boosted from a logical six seed, albeit one of the top two of them, up to a five.
Of course Harvard is the loser in most of this. The Crimson plummeted down to the final six seed, in the realm of the automatic bid teams, even though they had one of the best resumes in the field. Now they're stuck with a really tough game. It might be that UTEP was hurt by the rule as well. The Miners looked like a solid two or three seed, but ended up as a five so they could play at New Mexico.
Of course, even with the travel rule not all of it is perfect. Mississippi has to travel to California, and Harvard is on the way to Oklahoma State. Still. It's an admirable job by the committee on such short notice. C.M. Newton and company deserve kudos.