Illini Women to Host Missouri State Thursday in WBIT Opener

(From Illinois Sports Information Office)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Illinois women's basketball team was selected to play in the inaugural Women's Basketball Invitation Tournament (WBIT) and will take on Missouri State on Thursday, March 21, the NCAA announced Sunday. The game will take place at State Farm Center.

 

What is the WBIT?

The Women's Basketball Invitation Tournament (WBIT) is a newly created 32-team postseason single-elimination tournament owned and sponsored by the NCAA. The competition is the second-best women's basketball postseason tournament available (behind the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament) and is in its first year of existence.

Created to ensure equity between the NCAA's men's and women's basketball postseason opportunities, the WBIT does not replace any existing event and will instead be held as a separate NCAA-funded entity.

 

What is the format for the WBIT?

The WBIT features 32 teams and will run from the first round (March 21) through the championship game (April 3). The single-elimination tournament features 16 seeded teams, with the top four seeded teams in four separate sections of the bracket.

The first three rounds will take place on campus sites, while the semifinal and championship games will take place at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. In each of the first three rounds, the higher-seeded team with an available facility will host the contest at campus sites.

Dates for each round of the tournament have already been determined.

  • First round: Thursday, March 21
  • Second round: Sunday, March 24
  • Quarterfinals: Thursday, March 28
  • Semifinals: Monday, April 1
  • Championship game: Wednesday, April 3

Tipoff times past the first round have yet to be announced.

 

How can I get tickets to WBIT games?

Since the WBIT is sponsored and funded by the NCAA, fans should be on the lookout for communication regarding WBIT tickets soon. Illinois season ticket holders should check their email for information to purchase tickets. Any non-season ticket holder can purchase tickets beginning at 4 p.m. CT on Monday, March 18. Please reach out to the Illinois Athletics Ticket Office at 1-866-ILLINI-1 or illinitickets@illinois.edu for more information.

 

Ticket prices for WBIT games at State Farm Center are listed below:

  • Courtside: $25
  • Loge: $15
  • Lower bowl and general admission: $15
  • Students/Youth: $10
  • Ages 2 and older must have a ticket for admission

 

Do my Illinois women's basketball season tickets work for WBIT games at State Farm Center?

No. Since the WBIT is sponsored and funded by the NCAA, Illinois season tickets will not be valid. Be on the lookout for communication from the Illinois ticket office regarding WBIT tickets.

 

How can I follow WBIT games?

All games for the duration of the WBIT will be broadcast on ESPN platforms. The preliminary-round games (first round, second round, and quarterfinals) will be available for streaming on ESPN+. The two semifinal games will air on ESPNU, while the championship will air nationally on ESPN2.

 

Will I be able to watch any neutral games at State Farm Center? 

No neutral-site WBIT games will be held at State Farm Center.

 

What is the WBIT equivalent on the men's side of college basketball?

The WBIT is equivalent to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in men's basketball.

 

When was the last time Illinois hosted a postseason game for women's basketball?

Illinois hosted the first two rounds of the 2012-13 WNIT and advanced to the quarterfinals.

Across the NCAA Tournament, WNIT, and IAIAW postseason events, Illinois has hosted during 13 different seasons for a total of 21 games, not including this season's contests.

 

Will Illinois host a potential second-round WBIT game?

Illinois is not guaranteed to host the second round.

Have a question about the WBIT that is not answered above? Click HERE.

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