Nate Oats Should be Coach of the Year
The Alabama Crimson Tide are a team that NO ONE wants to play in College Basketball. The Tide is 7-0 in the SEC after one of the most grueling stretches of any team in the country. Alabama has beaten Ole Miss, No. 6 ranked Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, Kentucky, Arkansas, and LSU by an average of 17 points. The last three wins for this team have been by an average of 27 points over three very solid SEC opponents in Kentucky, Arkansas, and LSU.
In Nate Oats' second year as head coach, Alabama is ranked fourth in the nation for made three-pointers, shooting 35.8%. The Tide has embraced the NBA play-style that Nate Oats wanted to implement from day one and their current run is the result. The team is averaging almost 80 possessions per game, ranking 17th in the nation, and is attempting nearly 31 threes per game.
In Tuesday night's win over LSU, everything came to fruition for Alabama. Senior John Petty put on an absolute shooting clinic, going 8-for-10 from three, and Quinerly and Primo both added six threes of their own. Alabama finished the night shooting 23-for-43 from deep and broke their own SEC record in the process.
Petty and company completely dominated on the offensive end of the court, but when it came to defense the Tide suffocated LSU. Trendon Watford, star LSU sophomore, was held to just 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting, and the team as a whole was held to 28-of-74 shooting.
Alabama is currently ranked 18th in the AP Poll and 16th in the Coaches Poll and has an upcoming game against the 9-6 Mississippi State Bulldogs to close out the week. Should Bama win against State, the Tide could likely be a top 10 team this time next week. Oats has his team first place in the SEC and looking at what would be the program's first top 10 ranking since 2006.
In just two years Nate Oats has taken a team that suffered a first round loss in the NIT to Norfolk State to a 7-0 record in the SEC looking at a potential top seed in the NCAA tournament. Oats has recruited lights out for Alabama, bringing in three top 25 recruiting classes in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Oats has completely changed the culture surrounding Alabama basketball and has brought a championship mentality to the program that it severely lacked in years prior.
Oats needs to be recognized as a legitimate Naismith Coach of the Year candidate for the way his team has performed this season and how he has turned the program around. From calling out Coach K, to hammering SEC opponents with a barrage of three pointers, the Nate Oats era is here in Tuscaloosa and Bama basketball is rolling.
Alabama Basketball Players Who've Played in the NBA