Party like it’s 1999: Tide, Tigers taking on underdog roles in women’s tournament

Alabama Women'S Basketball
The Alabama Women’s Basketball Team celebrates during The March Madness Selection show in the CM Newton Recruiting room in Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, AL on Sunday, March 17, 2024. (Alabama Athletics)

For the first time since the turn of the millennium, both Alabama and Auburn will be playing in the NCAA Women’s Tournament in the same season. The Crimson Tide and the Tigers will both be hoping to be this season’s Cinderella team, trying to make a surprise run into the second weekend of the tournament or beyond.

The two rivals split their regular season meetings this season and they are now in the tournament together for the first time since 1999.

So what does the path look like for both teams? Let’s dive in and see where the fun begins this week.

Bama looking to bounce back

Kristy Curry
Alabama head coach Kristy Curry watches play in the first half of a first-round college basketball game against Baylor in the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Alabama has 23 wins already this season, its most since 1998. It was enough to earn a second consecutive trip to the tournament for the first time since 1999.

But with a return to the tournament, thoughts start to creep in about what happened last year when the Crimson Tide saw an 18-point lead disappear in its first round defeat to Baylor. Alabama is hoping to put that behind them though with a new team and a lot of new faces.

Alabama got a #8 seed in Portland Regional 1. The Crimson Tide will take on Florida State in the first round as the program searches for its first tournament win since 2021 and just second since 2000.

If Alabama wins, it will likely have to take on top-seeded Texas. The Tide is 1-2 all-time against #1 seeds with its last win coming in 1988 during the team’s run to the Final Four, the furthest the team has ever made it in the tournament.

Auburn begins in the First Four

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January 15, 2023: Auburn Head Coach Johnnie Harris gets ready to draw up a play during a time out during NCAA Women’s Basketball action between the Auburn Tigers and the LSU Tigers at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, LA. Jonathan Mailhes/CSM (Credit Image: © Jonathan Mailhes/CSM via ZUMA Press Wire) (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

Auburn has not been in the tournament since 2019 and has not won a tournament game since 2016. This is a program not used to those kind of droughts and the Tigers are hoping to put an end to both Thursday night.

The Tigers are a #11 seed and will play in the First Four play-in round against Arizona. If they win, they’ll earn a spot in the Portland Regional 1 to face sixth-seeded Syracuse in the first round. Then if Auburn can string together consecutive wins, it will be the all-time winningest program in NCAA women’s history as #3 seed UConn would likely be waiting for the Tigers.

The bracket

Alabama and Auburn are just two of eight SEC teams that made it to the tournament including #1 overall seed and unbeaten South Carolina. Defending champion LSU received a #3 seed, sitting in the same region as Iowa and star Caitlin Clark.

You can see the full bracket and even print off your own from the NCAA website below. You can find information on the men’s tournament here.

If you’re filling out a bracket, snap a picture and share it with us! Tag us at @TheBamaBuzz across all social media channels!

Caleb Turrentine
Caleb Turrentine
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