NCAA announces new format for 2023 women’s basketball Sweet 16 and Elite Eight

The NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament will have a slightly new look in 2023.

The sport’s NCAA committee announced Friday that next year’s Sweet 16 and Elite Eight will move to a two-host format — as opposed to last year’s four — with all regional rounds set to take place in Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C., and Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Wash from March 24-27.

The tournament’s First Four games, which were introduced for the first time last year, will also return and be played at campus sites on March 15 and 16.

“The committee spent a significant amount of time in determining the regional playing format and preferred playing location for the First Four games,” committee chair Nina King said in a statement. “The decision to continue with top 16 sites hosting First Four games was backed by the positive feedback from the schools that participated in those games during the 2022 championship. We feel both decisions provide for the best student-athlete experience.”

Host sites for the 2023 tournament will follow the same selection process as last year, based on bracketing principles and procedures. All sites bidding to host first- and second-round games must agree to host a First Four game, as well. The committee says First Four, first and second rounds, and Selection Sunday will continue to be conducted in this format through 2027, with the committee conducting a preliminary-round format review after the 2025 championship.

The committee also confirmed the 68-team field will be announced on March 12 on ESPN.

(Photo: William Howard / USA Today)

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