While the men’s NCAA basketball tournament receives most of the attention during March, it is important to note that the womens NCAA basketball tournament is also a very exciting and entertaining tournament that takes place almost exactly in unison with the men’s tournament.
The womens NCAA basketball tournament features 64 teams in a format very similar to the men’s.
The key dates for the 2009 womens NCAA basketball tournament are Selection Monday (March 16), the opening round (March 21), final four (April 3), and national championship game (April 5).
You may have noticed a slight difference between the men’s and womens NCAA basketball tournament in that there is no “play-in” game for the women’s tournament. This means that action automatically kicks off March 21st with the first round. The second round continues action on March 23rd.
The first and second rounds of the tournament are often considered the most entertaining and fun to watch. More basketball is played during these four days than any other period of the season. Also, upsets and classic battles are guaranteed to take place.
The women’s NCAA basketball tournament consists of four regions, and in each region, four separate host sites are designated. The four separate host sites in each region host four teams for those four days. This setup differs from the men’s tournament, where only eight host sites exist.
The NCAA basketball tournament is a single elimination tournament, which basically means, “win or go home.”
Here’s a list of the first and second round host sites for the womens NCAA basketball tournament:
• Albuquerque, NM
• Baton Rouge, LA
• Columbus, OH
• College Park, MD
• Duluth, GE
• Lubbock, TX
• Los Angeles, CA
• Piscataway, NJ
• East Lansing, MI
• Iowa City, IA
• South Bend, ID
• Seattle, WA
• San Diego, CA
• Storrs, CN
• Chattanooga, TN
After the second round commences, only 16 teams remain, which is often referred to as the “Sweet Sixteen.”
The 16 remaining teams head to regional host sites which will host both the “Sweet Sixteen” and the ensuing “Elite Eight.” The “Sweet Sixteen starts on March 28th and the “Elite Eight” begins on March 30th.
The host sites for the regional bracket of the NCAA basketball tournament are:
• Trenton, NJ (East Regional)
• Raleigh, NC (South Regional)
• Oklahoma City, OK (Midwest Regional)
• Berkeley, CA (West Regional)
The regional champions compose the Final Four teams. The Final Four takes place this year in St. Louis, Missouri at the Scottrade Center. The semifinal games take place on Saturday, April 5th and the NCAA National Championship game takes place on Monday, April 7th.
The action should be packed and filled with excitement this March. I’m already counting down the days until tournament play begins. If you are a big fan of basketball, than the women’s NCAA basketball tournament is second to none. The amount of action and close competition is unbeatable.
This year the favorite teams to win it all are led by the usual suspects of undefeated UCONN and 24-4 Stanford. Oklahoma also looks very solid at 25-3 and Maryland at 25-4. Other teams to keep an eye on include Baylor, Auburn, Louisville, Duke, California, and Texas A&M.