NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament announces expansion
The NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament is going to look more like the men’s this year!
Not only will the bracket be revealed on Sunday, March 13, like the men’s bracket, the field will also expand to 68 teams.
The NCAA announced the news with a press release on Wednesday evening:
? #ncaaW Tournament Update ?
? DI women’s basketball tournament will expand to 68 teams!
? 2022 ESPN Selection Show will move to Sunday, March 13.
More ?: https://t.co/6LSKIgIwiT pic.twitter.com/NgnbGmQjmA
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessWBB) November 17, 2021
“This immediate expansion of the women’s basketball championship reinforces the fact that leaders within Division I are committed to strengthening aspects of the women’s basketball championship that directly impact student-athletes,” Council chair Shane Lyons, athletics director at West Virginia, said in the release. “We look forward to the positive change this will have for the student experience at the championship, especially as it relates to equal team opportunities to compete in the tournament.”
This year only, the release says the 4 opening-round games will be held on campuses:
For the 2022 championship only, the four opening round games will be conducted on the campuses of teams seeded in the top 16. Sites will be selected based on bracketing principles and procedures. All sites bidding to host first- and second-round games must agree to host the opening-round game as well. Beginning with the 2023 championship, the first four games will be conducted at a to-be-determined neutral site.
Previously, the women’s tourney only included 64 teams. Now, 4 extra slots will be added so the number is equal to the men’s tourney.