Fran Dunphy could not watch. Instead, the Temple coach walked around his team's practice facility waiting for a roar from his players or a buzz from his phone, signs that his Owls had been counted among the 68 chosen for the NCAA tournament.

Neither one ever came.

The selection committee had deemed Temple as being unworthy of an invitation to its big dance. That, of course, did not mean the Owls were unworthy. It just meant the committee did not think they were and any committee that has the letters NCAA attached to it has a pretty good chance of being wrong.

In this case, the committee had a lot wrong and the omission of Temple from the field was near the top of the list.

Scott Barnes, the selection committee chairman and athletic director at Utah State, said it sure was tough keeping the Owls out of the tournament. He said Wyoming's upset of San Diego State in the Mountain West tournament final was ultimately what cost Temple a bid.

That's another reason to hate the Cowboys, but it's also a convenient excuse for Barnes and his committee. Wyoming, under the rules of the tournament, earned its bid by winning its conference championship. The team the Cowboys beat, San Diego State, also had a tournament-worthy resumé and ended up being a No. 8 seed in the South Regional.

There were other lines on the four regional brackets where Temple could have been placed, but it's clear that the selection committee cares a lot about the names on the front of the jerseys, especially if they are connected to one of the power football conferences that rule over the NCAA.

Dunphy could not have been more gracious after learning of his team's snub, but he did make the astute observation that the committee seems to tilt in favor of the conferences with football powerhouses.

"It looks like the power conferences - the power five as it were - seemed to get a large part of the attention," he said. "I will say that."

Start with UCLA, a 20-13 team from the Pac-12 that did not have a quality road win the entire season. Continue with Indiana, a 20-13 team from the Big Ten that went 9-9 in its own conference, which was not as good as it has been in the recent past.

The Bruins and Hoosiers, of course, are basketball royalty with a combined 16 NCAA championships. It's sexy to see them in the tournament. That should not matter when picking the field for the 2015 tournament, but you get the feeling it does. You also get the feeling that the American Athletic Conference, a relative NCAA newbie, gets about as much respect as a rabbit living with alligators and anacondas in the Everglades.

"Well, I think we are a power basketball conference," Dunphy said. "I think we have some really good teams in there. Watching the [conference championship] game [Sunday] between UConn and SMU, that's two really good basketball teams."

Yes, it is. UConn, in fact, is the defending national champion. Even though the Huskies had a down year by their standards, the team's 20-14 record and advancement to the final game of its conference tournament might have been enough to get them a chance at defending it if the name of their conference had been the Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC, SEC or Big 12.

For some reason, the Big East is still being treated like one of the big boys even in its splintered state. Six teams were chosen from that conference, which was probably just a sliver better than the AAC. That's not meant as a knock at Villanova, which definitely deserved and earned its No. 1 seed.

SMU, on the other hand, was clearly the best team in the American but garnered only a sixth seed after absorbing a tournament snub last season similar to the one Temple received Sunday.

"There is nothing you can say," Dunphy said. "I would go to the committee and say what? 'You should have included Temple.' Well, they didn't, so we're disappointed, but if this is the most disappointed our guys will be in their lifetime, then they will have a really, really good life."

Temple, which knows it could have earned a tournament trip with just one win in its three games against SMU, will get to play again as a top seed in the NIT. SMU, meanwhile, will play UCLA in an NCAA game the American Athletic Conference cannot afford to lose.

@brookob