Losing is easy says Alabama Basketball coach, Nate Oats

[Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]Alabama Vs Louisiana Exhibition Basketball
[Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]Alabama Vs Louisiana Exhibition Basketball /

Alabama basketball fans are not happy. It is not like the Crimson Tide has recently tripped and fallen. To many Tide hoops fans, it is more like the team stepped off the edge of a cliff.

Whether the team is or is not in freefall will be known in the next three weeks. Early season big wins and strength of schedule will not save the Tide if its current trajectory continues.

In the next six games, going through Feb. 5, the Crimson Tide will be favored twice. Considering one of the two is Missouri, who has already beaten the Tide, perhaps the only sure win is in Athens against a bad Georgia Bulldogs team.

After LSU comes to Tuscaloosa Wednesday, the Tide has Missouri at home, Georgia on the road, Baylor at home, Auburn on the road and Kentucky at home. In case Alabama basketball fans have been misled by the false narrative of the Cats struggling, they beat Tennessee on Saturday by 28 points. Unlike when they played in Tuscaloosa, the Vols had their best player and their most experienced player in Saturday’s lineup.

Losing is easy for Alabama Basketball

What the Crimson Tide has been doing in a month-long run of three wins and five losses is mostly not working. Two of the three components of Nate Oats’ offense are not producing. The Tide’s ‘drive and shoot’ rim game gives inconsistent results against good defensive teams. ‘Drive and kick’ to an open 3-shooter is not working well either. In five SEC games, the Crimson Tide is No. 13 in the SEC, with a team average of 27.2 percent on three-point attempts. The one successful component is free-throw shooting of 78.8% for No. 3 in the league.

In five games, Alabama is last in the league in opponent rebounding. Making the poor shooting and weak rebounding worse, the Tide is No. 12 in the SEC in turnovers.

Yes, with such performance deficiencies, losing is easy. After the Mississippi State loss, Nate Oats said,

"We’ve gotta close games. We’ve gotta play the full 40…We’ve gotta get tougher"

As the coach knows, searching for toughness in mid-January reveals inadequacies in a roster. Blaming Oats and certain players is too easy. Better is to consider what Oats must do. Based on his Saturday night comments, personnel changes may be significant.

"Losing is real easy. All you’ve gotta do is come in with the wrong mindset, not play, don’t play hard enough, and then losing takes care of itself pretty easy for you. But winning is hard. So we’re gonna have to do some hard things to win in this league. We’re gonna have to make hard decisions as coaches – who’s gonna play, who’s not. We’ve gotta find five guys that are tough enough to guard and rebound."

One humble suggestion for Coach Oats. The guys that do not value every possession – leave them on the bench until they do. It only takes a few mistakes to lose a close contest. A mistake early in a game can be as damaging as one in a final minute. Good basketball teams win on talent and toughness – physical and mental. It can be debated whether the Tide has enough talent. There is no debate, that over the last four weeks, the Tide has come up short on toughness.

Next. Third straight Tide loss in Starkville. dark

The now 11-6 Crimson Tide is down to No. 23 in the NCAA NET rankings. That is still a strong position for the NCAA Tournament, though seed predictions have dipped considerably.