Alabama basketball’s strength is now a weakness
Alabama basketball‘s strategy has shifted since the hiring of Nate Oats. Over the past three years, the Tide have depended heavily on perimeter shootings. In an analytics world, all points need to come from behind the arc, in the paint or at the free-throw line.
This can be unstable when shots aren’t falling, but it also led the Tide to an SEC title last year. Alabama basketball’s shooting kept them in every game, and they found a way to dominate against tough opponents because they could stretch the floor.
With the return of Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly, this was supposed to be a key driver of this year’s team as well. However, the shots have not been falling.
Alabama basketball averages 30.5% from beyond the arc, which is 325th in the country. However, they average 29.7 attempts from three per game, which puts them in the top 10 in the country. The shooting is even worse in conference play, where Alabama is first in three-pointers attempted and last in three-point percentage.
This year, Alabama has one of the toughest schedules in the country. In key games, they need to rely on perimeter shooting to spread the floor and run up the scoreboard. Alabama’s defense has improved, but they aren’t good enough as a group to win the hard-fought games. They need to run up the score.
With the numbers where they are, this is more than a cold streak. Even Alabama’s best players are consistently missing shots. You can no longer rely upon the Tide to make open jumpers from three, and that will lower their ceiling in the postseason.
The good news is that Alabama basketball has one with perimeter shooting before. The talent is there. If the Tide can figure out what is wrong and piece it all together by the time March rolls around, this team will be peaking at the right time. Still, there is work to do.