Postseason WNIT gearing up
The women's college basketball season is winding down, which means the competition for postseason berths is heating up.
The WNIT will makes its selections Monday, March 13, following the NCAA Tournament field announcement. The WNIT will invite 40 teams to participate in the postseason event, which is a single-elimination format with games held at participating schools.
In last year's postseason WNIT, Missouri State defeated West Virginia 78-70.
WNIT expands field to 40 teams
The Postseason Womenís National Invitation Tournament will change its format for the upcoming tournament, expanding to 40 teams for the first time in the eventís history.
The eight-team addition was made to accommodate a specific goal: The WNIT wants to give more playing opportunities to teams who win their regular-season conference title but donít capture their conference tournament and the ensuing NCAA Tournament automatic bid.
In the past, some of those teams did not have any chance to play in the postseason, but now the WNIT will hold an extra eight spots for them.
The selection of the 40 teams for the Postseason WNIT will involve two components:
1. Thirty-two (32) spots will be filled by the top teams available based upon the selection criteria as used in the past.
2. Eight spots (8) will be held for a limited number of automatic berths.
Automatic Berths for Regular Season Champions
Eight spots will be held for teams that were not chosen as part of the 32-team selection and meet the following criteria:
- Won their conference regular-season title
- Did not win their conference tournament
- Did not receive an ďat-largeĒ bid to the NCAA Tournament
Note: Should more than eight schools meet these criteria, then the top eight schools will be selected from that group based upon the WNITís selection criteria used to identify quality teams. If fewer than eight teams meet the criteria for a regular-season champion automatic berth, then any remaining spots needed to complete the field of 40 will be filled using the WNITís selection criteria.
Regular Season Ties
Single Division Conferences
In the event of a tie for the regular season conference title, the WNIT will recognize the team designated as the top seed in its conference tournament as the regular season champion that can qualify for the WNITís automatic berth.
Multiple Division Conferences
For conferences that have multiple divisions, only one team from the conference will be able to qualify for an automatic spot. The WNIT will assume that the top seed for the conference tournament is the regular season champion. If a conference designates more than one top seed (ie. a #1 seed for each division) then the conference office shall determine, before its conference tournament begins, which team would qualify for possible automatic inclusion in the WNIT.
The Postseason WNIT will feature four preliminary-round games, followed by 16 first-round games, eight second-round games, four third-round games, two semifinals and one championship. All games in the single-elimination format are played at the home facilities of participating schools.
The WNIT field will be selected Monday, March 13, following the NCAA Tournament selections. Games will be played beginning Wednesday, March 15, with the event finishing by March 31.
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About the WNIT
The Preseason WNIT is an elite 16-team tournament that often showcases that seasonís eventual Final Four teams. Powerhouses such as Connecticut, Louisiana Tech, Kansas State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Texas Tech have played in the tournament throughout its 12 seasons.
The Postseason WNIT is a 40-team single-elimination event for schools that were not part of the NCAA Tournament field but still finished strong and at or above a .500 record. Many teams use their strong postseason finish in the WNIT to jumpstart their next season.