Women's Final Four

Women's Basketball Selections 101 - Bracket

Building the Bracket

Step One

Before selection weekend, each committee member receives an “initial ballot” composed of two columns listing all eligible Division I teams in alphabetical order. Each committee member will submit the ballot by a designated time on the first full day of selection meetings. The committee selects the best at-large teams to fill the available berths. There is no limit on the number of at-large teams the committee may select from one conference.

Step Two

The committee will create a seed list — 1 through 64 — which is used to assess competitive balance of the top teams across the four regions of this national championship. Additionally, the seed list reflects the sequential order with which teams will be placed in the bracket. Once the seed list is finalized, it remains unchanged while the bracket is assembled. Importantly, various bracketing principles may preclude a team from being placed in its true seed on the seed list.

Step Three

A top priority for the committee is to achieve reasonable competitive balance in each region of the bracket. Sixteen levels are established (i.e., the seeds, Nos. 1 through 16) in the bracket that cross the four regions, permitting evaluation of four teams simultaneously on the same level. Teams on each seed line (No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, etc.) should be as equal as possible.

Step Four

The committee will then go through the seed list, placing all teams by seed, starting with the four No. 1 seeds through the No. 4 seeds. After the top four seed lines have been assigned, the committee will determine the relative strengths of the regions by adding the true seed numbers in each region to determine if any severe numerical imbalance exists. Generally, no more than 5 points should separate the lowest and highest total. The committee also will attempt to assign each team to the most geographically compatible regional.

Step Five

These additional considerations also are made: If possible, rematches of regular-season games should be avoided in the preliminary rounds. Rematches of previous years’ tournament games should be avoided, as well.

Women's Basketball Selections 101 - Selections

Selection Criteria NCAA EVALUATION TOOL (NET): The women’s basketball NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) is one of many criteria used by the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee in the selection of the at-large teams and seeding of the 64 teams...

Women's Basketball Selections 101 - Committee

Meet the Committee

Nina King

Committee chair and senior deputy athletics director and chief of staff at Duke

Nina King joined the committee in 2018. She succeeded Diane Turnham, senior associate athletic director/SWA, Middle Tennessee State University on September 1, 2020.

Other Committee Members Include:

  • Deneé Barracato, deputy director of athletics at Northwestern
  • Rhonda Lundin Bennett, senior associate athletics director/SWA at Nevada
  • Greg Burke, director of athletics at Northwestern State
  • Beth Goetz, director of athletics at Ball State
  • Kurt McGuffin, director of intercollegiate athletics at UT Martin
  • Lisa Peterson, deputy athletics director at Oregon
  • Derita Ratcliffe Dawkins, deputy athletics director at Arkansas
  • Debbie Richardson, senior associate commissioner at the Atlantic 10 Conference
  • Jill Shields, deputy athletics director at Kansas State

What's the Committee's Role?

The 10-member NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee is responsible for selecting the 32-or-more best at-large teams for the championship to join the 32-or-less automatic qualifiers representing each of the competing Division I conferences.  The committee then seeds and brackets the 64-team NCAA tournament field.

School and conference administrators are nominated by their conference, serve five-year terms and represent a cross-section of the Division I membership. Committee members spend countless hours evaluating teams during the regular season. They are expected to be experts on the teams within their assigned regions while maintaining a broad-based knowledge of Division I basketball.



Committee summer meeting allows for discussions related to the upcoming basketball season, which begins in November. Championship policy decisions are made during this time, meetings with stakeholders take place and primary/secondary conference assignments are divided among committee members so person can focus on monitoring assigned teams throughout the season.

November - January

Committee members met virtually with championship planning and in-depth team discussions taking place.  Members come out of these meetings with a lengthy list of teams to monitor more closely over the final two months of the season


Committee members meet in Indianapolis for a committee orientation meeting to review the selection, seeding and bracketing technology available to them as well as having a thorough discussion of teams. This is one of many conversations the group will have to offer opinions until they meet in person for selections.

Thursday Before Selection Monday

The committee arrives in San Antonio for the beginning of the selection process. For the next five days, the 10 committee members debate, vote, and debate some more until the final bracket of 64 is released on Selection Monday, March 15 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Women's Basketball Selections 101


How Does the NCAA Pick the Teams?

A popular question asked by sports fans in March is, "How does the NCAA pick teams to play in the tournament?"
Here is a chance to look behind the curtain to see how the teams are chosen.

2021 Championship Timeline

Selection Monday

March 15, 2021; Selection Show, ESPN, 7 p.m. ET

First/Second Rounds

First-round play will take place March 21-22 at the Alamodome, Bill Greehey Arena on the campus of St. Mary’s (Texas), Frank Erwin Center (Texas), University Events Center (Texas State) and the UTSA Convocation Center. Second-round play will shift entirely to venues in San Antonio, with the Alamodome, Bill Greehey Arena and the UTSA Convocation Center playing host March 23-24.


 The championship will shift to the Alamodome for all remaining rounds, with the Sweet 16 games played March 27-28, Elite Eight games held March 29-30.

Women's Final Four

The 2021 Women’s Final Four will be played April 2 and 4 at the Alamodome. National semifinal games on April 2 will tipoff at 6 and 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.  National Championship game on April 4 will begin at 6 p.m. ET.



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