Twice the Alabama women’s basketball team led by two points on the last possession of regulation, and both times the Crimson Tide surrendered the game-tying basket with sparse time left on the clock. As a result, UA finished the regular season with back-to-back overtime losses to ranked opponents.

For Alabama’s six seniors, it was heartbreaking.

The two close defeats kept Alabama’s rating percentage index (RPI) in the mid-80s heading into the SEC Tournament, which is around 20 spots shy of where it needs to be for a chance at an at-large NCAA Tournament bid.

If there’s any good news for Alabama, it’s that an ominous road lies ahead for UA as the No. 8 seed in this week’s SEC Tournament in Nashville. And yes, the difficult path is exactly what Alabama needs to improve its RPI before the NCAA Tournament selection show.

The Crimson Tide’s first game will be on Thursday at noon (CT) against No. 9 seed Kentucky. The Wildcats have an RPI just three spots behind UA, and defeated Alabama by 25 points in the regular season.

Should Alabama get past Kentucky, the 30-0, No. 1 seed Mississippi State Bulldogs will be waiting. And while an upset of the Bulldogs would be unlikely, it’s probably the only win (besides Connecticut) that could boost Alabama’s RPI into the 60s.

Here’s a look at the full SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament bracket:

SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament bracket. Courtesy of