First four out top NIT field

Temple, Old Dominion, Colorado State and Richmond will have to settle for No. 1 seeds in the National Invitation Tournament.

The first four teams left out of the NCAA tournament were automatically given the top seeds for the first time in the NIT field, which was announced Sunday.

Temple (23-10), which finished third in the American, was passed over in favor of teams like Dayton and UCLA after losing to SMU in the conference tournament.

The Owls will now try to make a run in the NIT, starting with Wednesday's home game against Bucknell.

"It's an agonizing situation to wonder what's going to happen all throughout this day," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "Now the angst is over, the disappointment reigns, but hope is still out there that we can finish this season strong with another tournament."

Temple wasn't the only American team snubbed by the NCAA tournament committee.

The league got just two teams in the top tournament -- league champion SMU and Cincinnati -- while teams like Tulsa (22-10) and last year's national champion Connecticut (20-14) were relegated to the NIT.

"I was hoping they would recognize our conference. Those three teams deserve to be in," SMU coach Larry Brown said. "We have to do a better job of figuring out who sits on that board. I guess they look at our league like it's not very good."

Murray State, which reached the Top 25 after going unbeaten in the Ohio Valley Conference, suffered a heartbreaking one-point loss to Belmont in the league tournament final.

The Racers are a No. 3 seed and will open against UTEP (22-10).

"We're excited about getting into the NIT. We just had to flip the script. Obviously they're disappointed. I thought we had earned the right to get into [the NCAA] field," Murray State coach Steve Prohm said. "They'll be fine. They've always played with a chip on their shoulder."

Old Dominion (24-7), which finished second in Conference USA, is the top seed in Murray State's quadrant.

Colorado State (27-6) will face the winner of Saint Mary's and Vanderbilt should it get past South Dakota State (23-10).

Notable high majors in the field include Pittsburgh, Stanford, Texas A&M, Miami, Illinois, Alabama -- which plans on competing despite dismissing coach Anthony Grant earlier Sunday -- and Arizona State.

The Sun Devils (17-15) will travel to face the Huskies on Wednesday with a possible date against Richmond looming in the second round.

UConn is just the sixth defending national champion not to make the NCAA field since it was expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

"It's experience. As a man, you grow up, you have experiences ... and you go back and you learn from it," UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. "Just like everything in life, you got postseason. There's no next day."