BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Just eight days ago, the state of Alabama was poised to slowly transition from a football state to a basketball state.

OK, maybe not, but the state was in some pretty elite company after it sent four teams to the men’s NCAA Tournament in Alabama, Auburn, UAB and Jacksonville State. Only three other states sent four or more, including California and Texas who have more than double the amount of D-I schools within their borders.

Even though two of Alabama’s teams would be facing off against each other in the first round, there was still a high probability that at least one of the teams would make it out of the first weekend of play and manage a berth in the Sweet 16.

Unfortunately, March Madness quickly turned to March Sadness.

The JSU Gamecocks, regular-season champions of the Atlantic Sun Conference, were given a No. 15 seed in the Midwest Region and would take on the No. 2 seeded Auburn Tigers Friday morning in South Carolina. Despite the talent disparity on paper, the Gamecocks made a game of it through the first half, even having a lead over the Tigers six minutes remaining in the first frame. But then Auburn, the SEC regular-season champs turned it on and never looked back winning 80-61.

“I just think we gave them too many open shots,” JSU’s Jalen Gibbs said. “Once the run got started, it was hard to stop.”

The Gamecocks may not be mourning the loss too much as the team did receive some unexpected help in getting into the tournament in the first place after an NCAA rule stopped A-Sun Tournament champions Bellarmine University from competing. Auburn would go on to the second round and play the No. 10 seeded Miami Hurricanes.

Once again, the Tigers likely had the better team looking from a distance, but what the Hurricanes lacked in skill they made up for in experience as they held the lead over Auburn for the entire game. The score was 33-32 in favor of the Hurricanes at the half but the game quickly got away with an 18-point romp of the Tigers as they failed to reach the Sweet 16.

“It’s the first time that we got it handed to us,” Pearl said. “We didn’t know how to respond.”

The Tigers, once ranked No. 1 overall in the country back in early February, went 6-5 in their last 11 games after starting the year 22-1.

And during that hot start that included a 19-game winning streak, the Tigers were able to defeat the Crimson Tide twice in that span.

Alabama was handed a No. 6 seed in the tournament and had to wait until Tuesday night to find out who they were playing. Two No. 11 seeds, Notre Dame and Rutgers, faced off in a First Four matchup which saw the Fighting Irish move on to face the Tide.

The first-round matchup may have had a different outcome had it not been for Jahvon Quinerly suffering a serious knee injury in the first half which he did not return from. Despite having just played two days prior and having flight issues, Notre Dame was able to pull of the upset and beat Alabama 78-64.

“I mean, gotta give Notre Dame a lot of credit to play in a play-in game and go double overtime, fly in here as late as they did, play with one-day rest and give the energy they got,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “We talk in college about veteran college players. I think it showed today.”

The SEC had six teams in the tournament but had a similar experience as only one school remains in Arkansas. Kentucky, LSU and Alabama were higher seeds that ended up losing in the first round of the tournament.

And finally, the UAB Blazers were getting a lot of hype heading into March Madness after winning the Conference USA Tournament. Despite going a surprising 27-8 in head coach ANdy Kennedy’s second season at the helm, the Blazers were only awarded a No. 12 seed and had to face off against the No. 5 seeded Houston Cougars, a Final Four team from a year ago.

Jordan “Jelly” Walker led the Blazers with 17 points but missed 12 of his 18 shots which led to UAB dropping the game to Houston, 82-68, thus bringing the end to the hope for a team from Alabama taking home a trophy.

The good news is for fans of these schools, is that spring football is right around the corner.

The Sweet 16 tips off Thursday at 6 p.m. on CBS 42.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.