Are Nate Oats and Alabama Basketball up to a reset?


A word to other Alabama basketball fans – this post is driven by individual perspective, hence its label as an opinion piece. But it is based on facts that are not subject to interpretation.

One of those facts is that Alabama Basketball is one of the worst turnover teams in Division One basketball. In terms of the percentage of turnovers per possession, the Crimson Tide is last in the SEC. That fact refutes the sometimes claim, the Tide’s turnover problem is a byproduct of a fast tempo team. It is carelessness with the ball and bad, ball movement and passing decisions that plague the Crimson Tide.

On Monday, Nate Oats discussed the problem,

"Last game LSU had 16 steals, so that’s 16 live ball turnovers. Charges and dead ball ones are a lot easier to defend. Our offense isn’t giving our defense a chance."

What concerns many Crimson Tide fans is the turnover problem is not new and March is a difficult time to correct a team’s weaknesses in fundamentals.

Even though Nate Oats would be forced to agree with the Tide being tardy in March, he remains boldly optimistic. In the last couple of weeks, Oats, as he did when he was hired, talked about Alabama Basketball making Final Fours.

His confidence is admirable. Speaking on Monday, Oats said,

"… the biggest problem right now is our turnovers, and then obviously our defense, we’ve gotta continue to work on. But we’ve definitely got a team capable of running off four in a row."

Some Alabama basketball fans are skeptical,

Between, another loss to Kentucky in the Tide’s second SEC Tournament game, followed by a one-and-done NCAA Tournament – and Final Fours, lies the Alabama Basketball reality.

That fortune favors the bold justifies Nate Oats’ confidence. More concretely, a basketball team with less talent than Kentucky, Auburn, Arkansas and Tennesse (just measuring SEC, Big Dance teams) must play hard and smart for 40 minutes in order to win.

The Crimson Tide has had problems with hard and smart this season. Presumably, with the higher stakes of post-season play, effort and intensity will not be a recurring problem.

Playing smart is a more doubtful proposition. Complaints of Crimson Tide ‘smartness’ issues should begin with Nate Oats. Against LSU, the Crimson Tide struggled with full-court pressure. Multiple times, rather than staying in the middle of the floor against the press, it dribbled into front court corners that in effect gave LSU additional defenders. A team playing smart, values every possession, and does not make such mistakes.

Then there is Oats’ ‘five-out’ offense. Part of its success comes from spreading the floor, which also leaves guys like James Rojas, Juwan Gary and Noah Gurley open to shoot threes. Their success rate outside the arc this season is a combined 24.2%. Throw in Jusaun Holt’s 11.8% on 17, three-point attempts, and a fair conclusion is not every open three is a good shot.

Note: Player stats in this post are from and

Next. LSU loss showed same Crimson Tide problems. dark

Getting back to the Tide not playing hard enough, there is a relationship between momentum in a game and intensity. It is Nate Oats’ job to manage that relationship successfully. Guiding his team to not beating itself, would be a good place to start.