Triple Crown Sports tossed a little excitement into our lives on Tuesday when they announced the 16 team field for the 2018 Preseason WNIT. As you can guess because you’re reading about it here, Marquette will be one of those 16 teams.
While the official team line is enthusiasm for the event, the fact of the matter is that the Golden Eagles should be the favorite to win the whole shebang. Marquette will be one of just three participants (Miami and Nicholls State are the other two) to have made it to the NCAA tournament in the spring of 2018, and the Golden Eagles are the only squad to advance to the second round. Outside of Marquette and Miami, there are only two other major conference teams involved — Auburn and Iowa State — and both of them finished last year under .500. Tack on the fact that Marquette returns all five junior starters from last season, and you can see why I think they’ll be favored to win.
According to the WNIT’s website, this is the schedule of dates for games:
- Round 1: Nov. 8-9
- Round 2: Nov. 11
- Semifinals: Nov. 13-15
- Championship: Nov. 18 (CBS Sports Network)
- Consolation Rounds 1 & 2: Nov. 16-17
- Consolation Round 3: Nov. 16 or Nov. 17
That should easily take up Marquette first week or so of the 2018-19 season, and I would presume that the Golden Eagles will end up hosting, no matter if they win or lose.
I suppose I should attempt to explain how this 16 team event will work. Every team participating is guaranteed three games, with the two teams playing in the championship game getting a fourth contest. As long as you keep winning, you play a team that won as well. That’s not complicated, and all games are played in on-campus facilities.
If a team loses a first round game, this is the procedure:
The eight teams that lose their first games will be re-grouped into “Consolation bracket quads,” which will be two four-team pools. The teams may be re-shuffled from their original sides of the bracket, so they could play any other first-round loser in the tournament. One team in each pool is selected to host the other three teams. Each team will play two games for a total of three in the tournament. These are called Consolation Rounds 1 and 2.
That’s a little goofy, but whatever. Again, Marquette shouldn’t have to worry about this.
If you lose in the quarterfinals, aka Game #2:
Of the four Round 2/quarterfinal losing teams, two teams will be selected to host one of the other quarterfinal round losers in a single game at separate sites. The teams may be re-shuffled from their original sides of the bracket, so they could play any other Round 2 loser in the tournament. This game provides the third game for each of these schools. This round is Consolation Round 3.
That’s a straight up consolation bracket type of deal, but again, this should not involve Marquette. If you lose in the semifinals, that’s the end of the event for you.
This will be Marquette’s second appearance in the Preseason WNIT. The first came back in 1994, where the Golden Eagles made a first round exit on the road against Southern Missouri State.
You can check out the full field of 16 in the WNIT’s press release right here.