WBIT & Hawai’i: The “what-to-know” for newest tournament in women’s March Madness

WBIT & Hawai’i: The “what-to-know” for newest tournament in women’s March Madness

WBIT & Hawai’i: The “what-to-know” for newest tournament in women’s March Madness

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED MAR 19, 2024

What exactly is the Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament?

Many questions have been asked about what exactly the WBIT is, when it started and how you get to play it. 

Never fear, a pretty simple breakdown is here: 

The WBIT (Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament) is a new NCAA-sanctioned postseason tournament that takes 32 of the top teams in the country not invited to the NCAA Tournament (March Madness) and places them in a bracket against each other. Announced in Fall 2023, the tournament brings the number of NCAA postseason chances for collegiate women’s teams to over 100 without pay-to-play models. 

Teams that win their respective regular season conference titles but lose in their conference tournaments earn automatic bids into the WBIT while the other spots are filled with “at-large” bids that are determined by a committee 

It is NOT the same tournament as the WNIT, which is not an NCAA-sanctioned postseason tournament and is run by an outside company. Confusion for fans typically comes from the similarity to the men’s National Invitation Tournament (NIT) which IS run by the NCAA. 

The WBIT creation was helped by a 2021 Gender Equity Report recommendation to help provide a similar amount of postseason chances as men’s basketball, continuing the skyrocketing popularity of women’s basketball as the tournament’s opening rounds will air on ESPN+ before the semifinals and championship work their way up to ESPNU and ESPN2 respectively.  

Learn more at the tournament’s official FAQ, here: https://www.ncaa.com/championships/basketball-women/wbit/faqs 

Hawai’i will play in the opening round of the WBIT against #2 seed Cal with the game being broadcast at 4:00 p.m. HT on Thursday, March 21 on ESPN+ with the winner of the game advancing to take on the winner of the Seton Hall-St. Joseph’s on March 24.