As disappointed as Temple was for being excluded from the 68-team NCAA field, imagine how the Owls will feel if they have a quick ouster from the NIT?
That's why coach Fran Dunphy knows that if the top-seeded Owls (23-10) are feeling sorry for themselves, they could be in trouble when they host No. 8 Bucknell at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the opening game at the Liacouras Center.
Bucknell (19-14) was the regular-season Patriot League champion and was ousted from the conference tournament in the semifinals by eventual champ Lafayette.
"We were all disappointed on Sunday," Dunphy said, "but we have reiterated the last few days that I hope we will be more than ready for Bucknell, because that is a good basketball team."
Dunphy isn't just saying the party line by praising the Bison. This is a team that lost at Villanova, 72-65, on Nov. 20.
In that game, 6-foot-5 junior Chris Hass had 32 points, a career high. Hass is averaging 16 points per game and was a first-team all-Patriot selection.
"This kid Hass is a knock-'em-down, drop-dead shooter and caused a lot of problems for a lot of teams," Dunphy said. "I am thinking of the Villanova game, he really knocked it out, and he is a really good player."
Will Cummings (shoulder) and Jaylen Bond (ankle) have practiced and are ready to go against Bucknell.
"We will never forget about it, and it always will be in the back of our mind," Cummings said of the NCAA snub, "but you try your best to put it behind you and use it as motivation."
Bucknell earned the automatic NIT bid as the regular-season champion. While the Bison are also disappointed at not being in the NCAA's, coach Dave Paulsen said it is different from Temple's plight. As a one-bid league, he knew that Bucknell's only way in was to win the conference tournament.
"We're disappointed in not being in the NCAA tournament, but we have nobody to blame but ourselves," Paulsen said Tuesday in a phone interview. "Temple is in a different boat; their body of work over the year merited inclusion in the NCAA tournament."
Most teams aren't happy to some degree to be in the NIT, but extending the season beats the alternative.
"Like every other team in the tournament, we are disappointed not to be in the NCAA's," said Temple swingman Quenton DeCosey, averaging 12.4 points. "We really have to come out ready to go when we face Bucknell."