New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Southern Methodist, St. John's, Minnesota and Florida State were named as the top seeds for the 32-team National Invitation Tournament field on Sunday.
SMU, which ranked No. 18 in the AP Poll two weeks ago, did not garner an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament despite a 23-9 record. The Mustangs hurt their chances by losing their final three games, most recently a setback to Houston in the American Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinals.
"I don't want anyone crying or complaining or taking away from the teams that got in," SMU head coach Larry Brown said. "When I saw Louisville got a No. 4 seed (in the NCAA Tournament), I could see there was not a lot of respect for our conference."
The Mustangs will play UC Irvine in the first round, St. John's hosts Robert Morris, Minnesota squares off against High Point and Florida State will battle last year's Cinderella program, Florida Gulf Coast.
Other first round games include San Francisco-LSU, Arkansas-Indiana State, California-Utah Valley, Green Bay-Belmont, Clemson-Georgia State, Illinois- Boston University, Saint Mary's-Utah, Missouri-Davidson, Southern Miss-Toledo, Georgetown-West Virginia, Louisiana Tech-Iona and Georgia-Vermont.
First-round play is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, and the final four teams will advance to New York City for the semifinals. The NIT will conclude with the championship game on Thursday, April 3 at Madison Square Garden.
Last year's champion, Baylor, reached the NCAA Tournament as a No. 6 seed this season.