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Tournament Overview
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 elimination.

Format
The Postseason 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 selections.

2008 Postseason WNIT
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.

Last spring, Wyoming hosted Wisconsin in the championship, and the teams played in front of 15,462 fans.  The game sold out in a few hours, and Wyoming is experiencing a large spike in season ticket sales for this season.

Teams 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.
    • Pittsburgh 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.
    • Michigan State, a semifinalist in the 2002 WNIT, played for the NCAA national championship in 2005.
    • Penn State, the 1998 WNIT champion, reached the NCAA Final Four in 2000.

The Process
How the teams are selected
The 48-team 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 spots:  Dolphin, 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.

How the field is bracketed
After the WNIT committee chooses the 48 teams adhering to the above-mentioned selection process, the teams will be bracketed.
Tiered Seeding
  
• 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.

Bracket guidelines
   
• 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 bye.
    • 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 proximity.
    • 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 other.

How 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 constraints, etc.

2008 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.