Alabama Basketball: What must change for the Tide and quickly


Even if Alabama Basketball needs no SEC Tournament wins to leapfrog into the NCAA Tournament, some things need to change quickly.

The Crimson Tide has not had an effective offensive performance since the Georgia game on Feb. 18. The result has been slow starts in the last four games. While it is fair to question if the Tide has opened those games with a requisite mix of focus and intensity, not playing hard has rarely been a problem this season. Two problems that have been apparent, especially in the last four games, are poor three-point shooting and untimely turnovers.

Going back to the South Carolina game, Alabama has shot 116 threes and made only 25 for 22% accuracy. The Tide’s defense is so consistently solid, against many teams, Alabama does not have to hit a high percentage of threes to win. But it does have to shoot better than it has of late. And against high-level teams, it must shoot threes much better than 22%.

Nate Oats and the Alabama staff have stressed individual fundamentals in the first practices this week. The primary focus has been on shooting. Speaking about Monday’s practice, Nate Oats said,

"We’ve had a great year. It’s a new season. We got to get our minds right, we’ve got to get back to playing well, shooting the ball well, get our energy back right. I thought today’s practice was good."

The Crimson Tide has struggled with turnovers at other times during the season. With its fast tempo, the Tide will make more frequent turnovers than many teams. In some key wins this season, the Tide has not been hampered by turnovers, showing when its focus is on valuing possessions turnovers are not an issue. The valuing of possessions needs to return.

With fresher legs and the added practice attention, the Tide may quickly return to raining threes. If it doesn’t, post-season may be the time when Nate Oats reduces his rotation to guys who are most consistently hitting the long ball.

Alabama Basketball 3PT Shooting – Last four games

Note: Player stats from Sports Reference

  • Jahvon Quinerly; 5-of-17, 29%
  • Brandon Miller; 10-of-37, 27%
  • Mark Sears; 5-of-21, 24%
  • Noah Clowney; 2-of-12, 17%
  • Nimari Burnett; 1-of-12, 8%
  • Rylan Griffen; 0-of-11, 0%
  • In the four games Jaden Bradley at 50% and Dom Welch at 33% have been more accurate but Bradley has taken only two threes and Welch, just three.

Nate Oats has often said he will never fault an Alabama basketball player for taking a good shot and missing. In the last four games, taking bad shots has not been a problem, but making shots has been.

Alabama gains much from its depth. It allows the Tide to play faster with minimal fatigue. The depth is also a major contributor to the Tide’s outstanding defense. Abruptly going to a seven or eight-man rotation would be an extreme reaction. But team threes at 22% proficiency will not win the SEC Tournament or many NCAA Tournament games. The Tide’s full-season average is 33.9% and Alabama needs to regain that accuracy or even higher for a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

Next. Too soon, Nate Oats must replace Brandon Miller. dark

Nate Oats has a bit of a coaching dilemma. As he has said, Alabama basically sticks to what it is, with few scheme or tactics changes, no matter the opponent. That has worked wonderfully well so far. Can it continue is an unanswered question.