Alabama Basketball is 2-0. According to Ken Pomeroy, the Alabama Crimson Tide is college basketball’s No. 7 team. Alabama has averaged over 103 points in its two wins. From most perspectives, Alabama Basketball is off to a great start to the 2023-24 season.
Nate Oats has a somewhat different perspective. On Friday night, the Alabama Crimson Tide beat a team that won 22 games last season and did so by a 22-point margin, 102-80.
Against the Indiana State Sycamores, the Crimson Tide shot 57% from outside the arc (13-for-23), 85% from the foul line (23-for-27), outrebounded the opponent 40-25, and made just 11 turnovers. For Alabama basketball fans there was much to like.
In his post-game review, Nate Oats focused more on what the Tide did not do well. One concern was poor finishing at the rim. Even though the Crimson Tide scorched the nets from three-point land, it finished the game with an overall field-goal percentage of 52%. From inside the arc, the Tide shot 48.7% with many misses at the rim. After the game, Nate Oats said,
Our point of emphasis the next couple of days is going to be finishing at the rim.
Nate Oats also said the Crimson Tide is lacking in rim protection. Being very direct, Oats said the Crimson Tide is missing Charles Bediako from last season.
Another Oats post-game comment showed his dissatisfaction with his team’s defense.
Our defense was not good again. We’ve gotta do a way better job on defense.
Nate Oats was not being disrespectful of the Indiana State Sycamores. In fact, he praised Indiana State, saying it was a quality win because,
They were even better than I thought they were gonna be when we scheduled them.
A good reason for Nate Oats to have limited patience in the development of the 2023-24 Crimson Tide is the December schedule. The Thanksgiving tournament on the Florida coast has some good teams. Even tougher is the run from Dec. 9 through Dec. 20 when the Crimson Tide will play three top ten teams. Based on Pomeroy’s rankings, those teams are No. 1 Purdue, No. 10 Creighton, and No. 6 Arizona. None of those games are in the state of Alabama.
The Alabama defense from its first two games of the season has not been good enough to beat that trio of teams.
Alabama Basketball Key Performers vs. Indiana State
- Aaron Estrada – 27 points, five rebounds, five assists
- Mark Sears – 24 points, four rebounds, two assists
- Grant Nelson – 20 points, eight rebounds, two assists
Nate Oats’ transfer players are leading the team. If a couple of the freshmen develop quickly, the Tide’s depth will be a major plus.