January 18, 2007 - As women’s college basketball teams move into conference play across the nation, thoughts also look ahead to the postseason. The Women’s National Invitation Tournament will expand its field to 48 teams this spring for the first time in event history.
The eight-team expansion will allow for an automatic bid from every conference. The WNIT is guaranteeing that each of the nation’s 31 conferences will automatically have at least one spot guaranteed for one of their teams in the Postseason WNIT.
The selection of the 48 teams for the Postseason WNIT will be according to the following:
1. Thirty-one (31) spots will be filled with one team per conference. That team will be the highest-finishing team in the conference’s regular-season standings, that does not advance to the NCAA Tournament. As in the past, the teams’ record must be at or above .500.
For example, if the second-place team during the regular season does not win its conference tournament, and the top-seeded team does (and earns the NCAA berth), then the second-place team automatically will be invited to the WNIT.
If the top-seeded team after the regular season does not win its conference tournament and is not invited to the NCAA Tournament, then it will have a guaranteed spot in the WNIT.
No matter which team from a conference wins its conference tournament, the WNIT will take the next best team available. That team is determined by conference tournament seeding based on regular-season standings.
2. The remaining seventeen (17) berths will be filled by the top teams available based on the selection criteria used in the past.
The 2007 Postseason WNIT will feature 16 first-round games, followed by 16 second-round games, eight third-round games, four quarterfinal games, two semifinal games and the championship. All games in the single-elimination format are played at the home facilities of participating schools.
Here are the possible dates for each round:
Round 1--March 14-16
Round 2--March 16-18
Round 3--March 19-21
The WNIT field will be announced Monday, March 12, following the NCAA Tournament selections.