INDIANAPOLIS --Teams announced by the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee as the “first four teams out” of the NCAA men’s basketball championship field will be the top-seeded teams in the 2015 NIT Championship.

After the NCAA men’s basketball championship bracket is announced, the NIT Committee will place teams identified as the top remaining programs as the four highest seeds in its field.

Since the 2012 championship, the NCAA has released its overall seed list, which includes every tournament team ranked 1 through 68, as well as the first four teams closest to receiving an at-large invitation but ultimately not selected.

“We think this is a natural progression to make, given that these are the last four teams under consideration for the NCAA tournament,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA vice president of men’s basketball championships.

“They have earned the opportunity to be a number one seed in the NIT and play home games in their quest to make it to Madison Square Garden for the NIT championship. We believe this is an appropriate way to connect these two postseason tournaments.”

Teams that win conference regular-season championships and are not selected to the NCAA championship automatically qualify for the NIT. The remainder of the field is selected as at-large participants by an eight-member committee of former men’s basketball coaches and athletics administrators.

The 32-team bracket for the 2015 NIT will be announced at 8:30 pm ET March 15. First round play begins at campus sites March 17-18. The NIT semifinals will be played at New York’s historic Madison Square Garden on March 31 with the 78th NIT champion crowned on April 2.