Alabama Basketball had no fun in Auburn Arena loss

(Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) /

Before the Baylor game, Alabama Basketball coach, Nate Oats told his players he wanted them to get back to having fun. Tuesday night, Auburn could not have been fun for the Crimson Tide.

With only a lapse or two, the Tide’s effort matched the challenge on playing the nation’s No. 1 team in their place. Even if it is, as Oats said on Monday, a pint-sized arena, in their building the Tigers play like a pack of hungry wolves.

While it wasn’t being any fun for Tide players, it was also no fun for the Crimson Tide fans seeing the Pearlster’s team ring up 100 points. These games, like the Iron Bowl football contest, are for many Crimson Tide fans a classic confrontation between good and evil. Evil wins sometimes. It is harder to take when they are also the better team.

Speaking after the game, Nate Oats acknowledged that fact.

"… they’re a good team. They were better than we were tonight. They really don’t have any weak links, and their frontcourt overwhelmed us."

The Auburn backcourt was impressive as well.

The Tigers had 17 more free throw attempts than did the Tide. Asked after the game about the officiating, Oats replied,

"It wasn’t what decided the game."

What decided the game more than anything was Auburn’s tenacious defense. For much of the first half, the Auburn man defense was suffocating. In the second half, when Bruce Pearl switched to a zone, it worked as well or better. For the game, the Tide shot just 36%. There were some open looks the Tide missed against the zone, but most of the Tide’s 45 missed field goal attempts were taken under pressure.

Jaden Shackelford with 26 points and Jahvon Quinerly with 20 points, scored more than half of the Tide’s 81 points. It should not take 70 field goal attempts to score 64 points from the floor. A team also should not score 81 points and lose by 19. Auburn scored 100 points while making only 24% of its three-point shots. Their 39 free throw attempts made a big difference.

The best summation of the game came from Nate Oats, who said,

"They’re better than we are right now. We’re gonna keep working, see if we can make some improvements before March."

Next. Alabama Basketball NCAA Tournament History. dark

Auburn is a very good team. They are potentially a Final Four team. But those games in March and perhaps April, will not be in that little arena that brings out the best in them.