It feels like old times.

For the first time since 1987, Auburn, Alabama and UAB will all be going to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Throw in Jacksonville State – the Gamecocks drew Auburn in a first-round game Friday – and the state has four teams playing in the 68-team national championship field.

As expected, Auburn (27-4) drew a No. 2 seed, in the Midwest Regional (Kansas is the No. 1 seed). The Tigers play No. 15 seed Jacksonville State Friday in Greenville, S.C. Auburn has been consistently ranked among the top teams in the country for the second half of the season.

Gonzaga, Arizona, Baylor and Kansas earned the four No. 1 seeds going into the tournament. The Big 10 had the most teams invited with nine, followed by the SEC, Big East and Big 12 with six each. The Atlantic Coast Conference had five teams make the championship tournament.

Alabama (19-13) drew a No. 6 seed in the West Regional and will play the winner of the Rutgers-Notre Dame game on Friday in San Diego, Calif. Gonzaga is the top seed in the West, a regional that includes No. 4 seed Arkansas.

UAB (27-7) is a 12 seed in the South Regional, and will play the Houston Cougars on Friday in Pittsburgh, Pa. The Blazers will be looking for their first NCAA Tournament win since defeating Iowa State in 2015. Arizona is the top seed in the South.

Jacksonville State made the field because Atlantic-Sun (A-SUN) conference tournament winner Bellarmine was not eligible to participate in the post-season. The Gamecocks won the regular season title, and the A-SUN selected JSU to receive the league’s automatic bid.

The Auburn-Jacksonville State game will be available on Tru TV with Jim Nance doing the play-by-play and Bill Rafferty the analyst at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. The Tigers are 13-0 all-time vs. Jacksonville State, with the most recent matchup a 78-54 victory at Auburn in 2013.

The No. 2 seed is Auburn’s highest since earning a No. 1 seed in 1999. This will be the 11th NCAA Tournament appearance for Auburn, the third under head coach Bruce Pearl. The Tigers reached the Final Four in their last tournament appearance, in 2019.

"I am glad we got the two seed," Pearl said. "I thought we earned it. It is historic. Auburn has been a one before, never a two, so this is the second-highest seeded team in Auburn basketball history. I think these kids earned that."

The Crimson Tide is making consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 16 years. Alabama advanced to the Sweet Sixteen last year.

While there were high expectations for the Tide this year after winning the SEC last year and beating Gonzaga and Houston in back-to-back games this year, but lost its final two regular season games and was eliminated in the first round of the SEC Tournament, losing to lower-seed Vanderbilt.

Still, head coach Nate Oats said, “We have a chance to make a great run to cap the year off really well. That’s what we’re trying to do. I think the guys’ minds are in the right spot.”

Auburn and Alabama are two of six Southeastern Conference teams that made the tournament. Kentucky is the No. 2 seed in the East Regional, Tennessee is the No. 3 seed in the South Regional and Arkansas is the No. 4 seed in the West Regional. LSU is the No. 6 seed in the Midwest Regional despite firing head coach Will Wade Saturday after LSU received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA. Assistant coach Kevin Nickleberry will take over as LSU’s head coach on an interim basis.

The Blazers have won seven straight games since a last-second home loss to Conference USA (C-USA) regular-season champion North Texas, and earned the automatic bid by winning the C-USA Tournament title. UAB has one of the most dynamic players in the field with Jordan “Jelly” Walker, the C-USA Player of the Year.  

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