Women’s basketball gets a second post-season tournament.
The NCAA announced Monday that it is launching a second women’s college basketball tournament this season. The Women’s Basketball Invitational Tournament will begin this spring and operate like the NIT on the men’s side. The tournament will feature 32 teams that narrowly missed the cut for the NCAA Tournament.
“Women’s basketball is at an all-time high with records set for the National Championship and Final Four viewership, and the tournament was the most-watched since 2009,” said Jamie Boggs, chair of the Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee. of Division I. “This tournament will create an additional NCAA-funded post-season opportunity for women’s basketball, and it comes at a time when we are seeing tremendous growth in the popularity of women’s basketball.”
It is not known what will become of the NIT for women. This 64-team tournament was run independently of the NCAA, and teams had to bid to host games and pay most expenses. Kansas beat Columbia to win the Women’s NIT last season, which marked the event’s 25th year.
Details regarding the new WBIT tournament are not yet known. The NCAA plans to create a selection committee, host sites, support rules and later this summer. It will likely be run the same way the NCAA Tournament is run, where teams hold the early rounds of the tournament before moving to a central location for later rounds.
While this new system will help add post-season opportunities for women’s teams at a much cheaper cost, not everyone is thrilled about it. Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella told The Associated Press he was unhappy with how the overall playoff field is now smaller.
“A lot of people say [the new tournament] is ideal for women’s basketball. but I’m not sure that’s the case,” Bozzella said. “With WNIT and NCAA, we had 132 teams, now we have 100. Is that better for women’s basketball, we’ll see.”
last season and win their first-ever title. The game, which was up more than 100% from 2022 and made it the most-watched NCAA women’s basketball game of all time.