This year’s group of 16 teams is the most elite ever in the tournament’s 15-year storied history. Nine of the teams are picked to win their conference or division this season. Twelve teams start this season after finishing in the postseason last year.
Oklahoma (No. 4 Associated Press) and North Carolina (No. 6) are the top-ranked teams in the field. Joining those teams are Arizona State, ranked No. 17; Xavier (No. 22), ranked in the Top 25 for the first time in eight years; and Illinois State and Liberty, who are receiving votes in the preseason polls. The teams that are picked to win their conference or division are Oklahoma (Big 12); North Carolina (ACC); Arizona State (Pac-10); Illinois State (Missouri Valley); Liberty (Big South); Middle Tennessee (Sun Belt East Division); Robert Morris (Northeast); UC Riverside (Big West); and Xavier (Atlantic-10).
Six of the first-round games will be played Friday, followed by the remaining two on Saturday. Teams are guaranteed to play three games in the Preseason WNIT. All games are played on home campuses.
In last year’s Preseason WNIT, No. 3 Maryland defeated No. 4 LSU and went on to a 33-4 season, advancing to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight. LSU went to the Final Four.
First-round 2008 Preseason WNIT games
All 2007-2008 team records in parentheses
Friday, Nov. 14, 2008
Robert Morris (23-10) at Xavier (24-9), 2 p.m. ET
Western Carolina (25-9) at North Carolina (33-3), 7 p.m. ET
VCU (26-8) at Liberty (28-4), 7 p.m. ET
Ball State (15-15) at Indiana (18-15), 7 p.m. ET
Illinois State (26-7) at Tulane (16-14), 8 p.m. ET
Cleveland State (19-14) at Arizona State (22-11), 8 p.m. ET
Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008
UC Riverside (14-16) at Oklahoma (22-9), 3 p.m. ET
Lafayette (14-16) at Middle Tennessee (22-12), 8 p.m. ET