Nate Oats, ‘The System Worked The Entire Year’
The Alabama Crimson Tide failed to advance to the Elite 8 after being upset by San Diego State 71-64 in the Louisville on Friday. The loss brings the Tide's overall Sweet 16 record to 1-9 and marks the third straight season that Alabama has been eliminated by a lower seed.
"I mean, it's a lot of really good programs in the country that have lost. I mean, we could go down the list of them. That's what makes the NCAA Tournament the NCAA Tournament. They're all good teams," said Alabama head coach Nate Oats.
You know, we were going to lose to a team seeded lower than us unless we won the national championship this year. We were the No. 1 overall seed."
The Alabama basketball program, while disappointed in Friday's result, can hang its hat on winning four conference championships and three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in the last three years.
The last time the Tide made the big dance in three consecutive seasons was from 2002-06, subsequently when Alabama made its deepest run.
"You know, last year we had an injury that nobody expected when J.Q. blew his knee out. Not that that's an excuse. Notre Dame played well. Before that we went 12 of 25 at the free-throw line. Goes into overtime. Shoot 60% instead of less than 50, probably win that game," said Oats.
This year we're 3-of-27 from three, and I know we take a lot of threes, but the system worked for the entire year. You know, we just -- it's one of those deals where I'm going to go back to the drawing board and see what I can get better at. We're going to try to recruit really good players."
A lot of programs would love to be in the NCAA Tournament three straight years. A lot of them would have loved to have won the SEC regular season tournament twice in the last three years."
Oats is now set for his biggest offseason in Tuscaloosa. He must replace two of his veteran assistant coaches in Bryan Hodgson and Charlie Henry, and he must reload a roster that will be losing, at the minimum, All American Brandon Miller.
The Crimson Tide is currently set to bring in the No. 14 overall recruiting class in 2023 and there's no telling how Oats will utilize the transfer portal to his benefit.
"We're doing pretty good things at Alabama," said Oats. "And we're going to continue to get better."