For the second straight season, the Indiana women’s basketball team will be headed to the Women’s NIT, as announced Monday night.
While it is unfortunate that the senior class of Tyra Buss and Amanda Cahill will not get to play in the NCAA Tournament, the WNIT is a chance for the Hoosiers to potentially bring home some hardware. A season ago the Hoosiers made it the Elite 8.
It was announced late Monday night that the Hoosiers will host UT Martin in a first round WNIT matchup. IU hosted each of its WNIT games last season.
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— WNIT (@WomensNIT) March 13, 2018
Per the WNIT website, home games are decided based on factors like “fan base, host bids, facility availability, tournament seed, travel constraints, etc.”
If the Hoosiers win their first matchup, they will meet the winner of Northern Iowa vs. Milwaukee. In the third round, there is a potential third matchup with Purdue if both teams can make it far enough.
What This Means
The WNIT is a great chance for the Hoosiers to keep playing basketball. In 2017, some of the best crowds of the entire season came in the home games IU hosted in the WNIT.
With Buss and Cahill ending their IU careers after their next loss, Assembly Hall could see some big crowds to catch a potential last glimpse at Indiana’s star duo. It also helps that this is the last basketball being played this season with the men’s season having finished.
The WNIT also offers a chance for the freshmen to gain valuable experience in a win-or-go-home format. Jaelynn Penn and Bendu Yeaney have already been big parts of IU’s game plan in 2018. With them being able to play and practice more, it can only help this team moving into next season and the rest of their careers.
Who is UT Martin?
The Skyhawks finished the season 19-14 out of the Ohio Valley Conference. They share six common opponents with IU such as Northwestern, Louisville, St. Mary’s, Arkansas State, Purdue and Chattanooga. In those games, UT Martin went 0-6.