Alabama Basketball: It’s not easy being a Tide hoops fan

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

Recently it was disclosed Alabama Basketball coach, Nate Oats has been frustrated with his team. Nate Oats defined his team’s performance as often “mind-boggling.” No Crimson Tide fan is shocked.

At the same time, Oats receives little sympathy from fans. It is his job to mold his players to a high, performance standard. If players are deficient, so too has been the coaching staff.

Nate Oats may not know it but in Alabama basketball history, March and frustration have often come together. Winning the SEC regular season and winning the SEC Tournament are momentous achievements. Last year’s double brought considerable pride and joy to Crimson Tide fans.

That kind of success can fade pretty quickly, depending on the Tide’s performance in the NCAA Tournament. For Tide hoops fans, the Big Dance can be maddening.

Crimson Tide disappointments in March Madness nearly outweigh Tide successes. Going back to its first Big Dance in 1975, the Crimson Tide barely has an NCAA Tournament winning record. At 23-22, Alabama Basketball is No. 5 among SEC teams in Big Dance wins.

The Kentucky Wildcats’ juggernaut leads the SEC with an NCAA Tournament record of 131-55. Florida is next at 48-20, followed by Arkansas at 45-33. LSU edges out the Tide for No. 4 at 27-26.

Tennessee and Missouri, both with 22 wins, also have NCAA Tournament losing records. The Vols are 22-24 and the Tigers are 22-28 (including their pre-SEC days). Auburn is 17-10 in the Big Dance. Three more SEC teams have double-digit wins; Texas A&M at 13-15, Mississippi State at 11-11 and Vanderbilt at 10-16. The Bulldogs might have another win or two in their NCAA Tournament had they not passed on playing in the 1959 NCAA Tournament. The school President did not allow the Bulldogs to participate because other NCAA Tournament teams had black players.

The SEC bottom three in NCAA Tournament success are South Carolina at 8-10, Georgia at 7-12, and Ole Miss at 5-9.

That review of SEC basketball and NCAA Tournament history shows Crimson Tide fans are not alone in experiencing Big Dance disappointments. What makes it harder for Alabama fans is measuring basketball success against Alabama Crimson Tide football success. It is an impossible standard. Five schools have won more than 100 NCAA Tournament games. Kentucky and the four others (North Carolina, Duke, Kansas and UCLA) are, and always will be, basketball first schools.

Though there are some (mostly short-term) exceptions, like Ohio State and Florida, schools having frequent college basketball success and college football success are rare.

Many Alabama fans want a football National Championship and a trip to the Final Four to be a regular Crimson Tide accomplishment. Nate Oats wants that and believes he can lead Tide basketball to that level.

Next. Crimson Tide NCAA Tournament History. dark

Hopefully, Oats can achieve his goals. Until he does, we Crimson Tide basketball fans may need to tamp down our March expectations. Transitional success might be getting to the Big Dance every season and the Tide playing like it deserves to be there.