After the 68 teams came and went and the Rams were nowhere to be found, coach Larry Eustachy summed up his players' feelings.
"They're devastated, and they should be, because they're certainly an NCAA tournament team," Eustachy told reporters, according to The Coloradoan.
The Rams (27-6) thought they had a strong case as an NCAA tournament team by finishing in third place with a 13-5 record in the Mountain West, going undefeated in nonconference play and picking up wins over co-conference champions -- and NCAA tournament teams -- San Diego State and Boise State.
Although Eustachy wouldn't make his players available for interviews Sunday, several took to social media to vent their frustrations.
Tweeted Tiel Daniels, according to The Coloradoan: "I don't understand...what did we do wrong."
Colorado State wasn't the only team left wondering why it won't be playing Thursday or Friday -- or even heading to Dayton, Ohio, for the First Four.
Temple (23-10), which finished third in the American Athletic Conference, was passed over after losing to SMU in the conference tournament. The Owls now will try to make a run as a 1-seed 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."
Among the teams making it were Power 5 schools UCLA and Texas.
Selection committee chairman Scott Barnes called the UCLA pick "one of the tougher decisions we had to make." But he defended putting the Bruins (20-13) in the bracket despite an RPI of 48, which is 18 spots lower than Colorado State.
"We felt they were gaining steam," Barnes said. "They did have a good strength of schedule. They were playing better against tough competition. An example is the last game against Arizona [a 70-64 loss in the Pac-12 semifinals]. I think the eye test was also a plus in putting them in the field."
Murray State, like the Rams, finished with 27 wins but ended up as a No. 3 seed in the NIT.
"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."
Murray State and Colorado State were both one victory shy of the most wins by a team not to make the NCAA tournament since the field expanded in 1985 (Coastal Carolina, 28-5 in 2010-11).
Prohm used the Racers' win total in making his case for his team's tournament credibility earlier this week.
"The main reason I think we belong in the NCAA tournament is you get in the NCAA tournament by winning games. And we've done that all season long," Prohm told Sporting News. "When you look at us not having lost a basketball game from Nov. 30 until March 7, and that turns out to be the eighth-longest winning streak since 2001, I think that's an incredible achievement. I think the NCAA tournament rewards great achievements throughout the regular season."
Meanwhile, one major omission from the NIT was Yale. NIT acting director Reggie Minton said the Bulldogs were discussed at length but didn't make the cut after losing at Dartmouth in the regular-season finale and to Harvard in the one-game Ivy League playoff Saturday in Philadelphia after beating Harvard in Cambridge a week ago to earn a share of the regular-season title.
"This season hasn't ended fairly," Yale coach James Jones told ESPN late Sunday. "Our RPI is 61. Miami, Rhode Island, UConn, Texas A&M, Saint Mary's, Illinois, Pitt and GW all have higher RPI than us. This is just plain unfair."
ESPN's Andy Katz, The Associated Press and ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.