Penn State forward Grace Hall (7) shoots against Wisconsin forward...

Penn State forward Grace Hall (7) shoots against Wisconsin forward Serah Williams (25) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big Ten women's tournament Thursday, March 7, 2024, in Minneapolis. Credit: AP/Abbie Parr

Penn State, James Madison, Villanova and Washington State will play in the inaugural Women’s Basketball Invitational Tournament as the No. 1 seeds after just missing the NCAAs.

The NCAA is sponsoring this tournament, an equivalent to the men's NIT. In the past, the secondary women's tournament was the WNIT and teams had to pay to host games in it. The NCAA is footing the bill for teams in the new tournament.

“What a great opportunity for women’s college basketball with (an) additional 32 NCAA teams having the ability extend their season with a new NCAA postseason tournament,” said WBIT committee chair Barbara Burke, a former AD at Iowa. “This inaugural selection process was a great experience for our committee and as a group we want to commend and thank the NCAA for this new endeavor for women’s sports."

The WBIT committee seeded the top half of the 32-team field. The remaining 16 teams were placed into the bracket by the selection committee as close to their area of natural interest as possible.

All games will be played on campus sites until the Final Four. The first round is scheduled for Thursday, with the second round three days later. The quarterfinals will be held on March 28. Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis will host the Final Four on April 1, with the championship game two days later.

Three other teams from the Big East joined Villanova: conference tournament runner-up Georgetown, Seton Hall and St. John's. California and Washington are with Washington State from the Pac-12. Arkansas, Florida and Mississippi State gave the SEC three as well.

Georgia Tech and Virginia are representing the ACC. Miami was supposed to be a No. 1 seed, but declined an invitation to the tournament. James Madison moved in and took the Hurricanes' top spot.

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