The Women's National Invitation Tournament is
an annual tournament involving 48 of the nation's top women's Division I basketball
teams. All games, including the semifinals and championship, are hosted by
participating schools at their home facility. Every round is single
WNIT features 16 first-round games, followed by 16 second-round games, eight
third-round games, four quarterfinal games, two semifinal games, and the
championship. The championship game is televised.
The event offers 31 automatic berths, one to each conference, and 17 at-large
berths. The WNIT
field and bracket is announced late on the evening of the NCAA Tournament
The 48-team tournament is a
single-elimination event with all games played at sites of host schools.
The WNIT is committed to offering deserved opportunities to women’s
basketball programs, and the tournament expanded to 48 teams in 2007.
For the first time in history, each of the nation’s 31 conferences was
guaranteed a spot in the Postseason WNIT. At
the same time, those automatic berths did not affect the number of deserving
at-large teams, which has stayed around 17 throughout the years.
The WNIT offers
teams an opportunity to get more practices in, to experience playoff-atmosphere
games, and to play in front of passionate fans.
in the championship, and the teams played in front of 15,462 fans. The
game sold out in a few hours, and
is experiencing a large spike in season ticket sales for this season.
also use the Postseason WNIT as a jumping-board to their next season’s
success. For example:
Marquette, the 2006 WNIT runner-up, went on in 06-07 to its best season in school history
and highest seed in the NCAA Tournament.
converted its 2006 WNIT semifinalist effort into its best season in school
history in 06-07.
• Baylor, the 2003 WNIT runner-up,
advanced to the NCAA regional semifinals in 2004 and earned its first NCAA
Tournament championship in 2005.
Houston, the 2002 WNIT runner-up, went on to its best record in school history and NCAA
second round the following year.
State, a semifinalist in the 2002 WNIT, played for the NCAA national championship in
State, the 1998 WNIT champion, reached the NCAA Final Four in 2000.
How the teams are selected
tournament field consists of 31 automatic berths and 17 at-large selections.
An automatic bid is offered to each conference to the team that finished
highest during the regular season and did not receive a bid to the NCAA
Tournament. The WNIT recognizes the
tiebreakers used by each conference in their tournament seeding.
The 17 at-large
berths are filled by the top remaining teams available, as decided by several
factors. All Division I teams –
with overall records of .500 or better (including conference tournament play)
– are considered for the at-large berths.
• The WNIT committee will utilize the seven following
women’s basketball ranking systems in the selection of the at-large tournament
Greenfield, Massey, Moore, RPI ratings, Sagarin, and Wobus.
These rankings vary in their emphasis, which provides a good
cross-ranking of factors such as win-loss record, strength of schedule, strength
of opponents and opponents’ schedule, record at home and on the road, and
margin of victory, among other factors.
• The high and low rankings for each team are removed and
the remaining five rankings are consolidated and utilized as the principle
resource for at-large selections.
• For the final few spots, the WNIT committee examines the
remaining teams under consideration utilizing additional factors such as how
well a team is currently playing, common opponents, late-season win/loss runs,
games against other potential invitees, and key injuries.
• Factors that are
not taken into consideration at any time during team selection are any
financial incentives, location of school, attendance history, tournament
history, ability to host, etc.
the field is bracketed
After the WNIT committee
chooses the 48 teams adhering to the above-mentioned selection process, the
teams will be bracketed.
• The WNIT committee seeds the 48 teams into tiers using a
combination of tools, including the seven ranking systems and other criteria
listed in the selection process.
• There are three tiers:
An upper tier consisting of the top one-third of teams, a middle tier and
a lower tier. Beyond the general
tier system, no specific seed numbers are given to teams.
• This is a general placement of what is considered a
distribution of the field strength.
• The committee makes every attempt to distribute the
top tier schools evenly across the bracket.
This at times results in a spread of geographically-close teams.
Most of the top tier teams will have a first-round bye.
The first round includes 32 teams in 16 games, so 16 teams have a
first-round bye. Due to the need to
have byes spread evenly across the entire bracket along with the geographic
orientation of the event, it is possible that not all top tier teams receive a
• In the first round, a lower-third tier team will usually
play a middle- or lower-tier team.
• A top-tier team likely will play a middle- to lower-tier
team in the second round, which consists of 16 games.
• Early rounds are bracketed based upon geographic
• Teams from the same conference will not meet in the first
round. If possible, conference teams
will not meet in the second round as well.
• Rematches of regular-season games shall be avoided, if at
all possible, in the first round.
• Some pairings are dictated by schools’ ability to
host. For example, two schools that cannot host will not be paired with each
the host schools are chosen
The host site is selected by the WNIT committee based on several factors
such as fan base, host bids, facility availability, tournament seed, travel
Postseason WNIT Dates
The 48-team field
will be announced
Monday evening, March 17, 2008. The
first round will kick off Wednesday, March 19, with the event culminating on
Saturday, April 5 with the championship.