Abysmal defense costs the Alabama Basketball team in matchup with Florida

Alabama v Auburn
Alabama v Auburn / Michael Chang/GettyImages

The Alabama Basketball team entered its game against Florida with great news as Nate Oats got a contract extension, while the top two seeds in Kentucky and Tennessee suffered losses earlier in the day. The Tide returned to full health for the first time since February 17th as Rylan Griffen returned to the lineup after missing the final game of the regular season on a minute's restriction.

Alabama started the game red hot, taking an 8-0 lead through the first two minutes. However, the team would go cold after making its first four shots, shooting 41% for the half while shooting 25% from three. The Tide bench was relatively ineffective, giving the team just three points in the first half despite Grant Nelson, Mark Sears, and Latrell Wrightsell Jr picking up two early fouls each.

The Tide built a four-point lead late into the first half before allowing Florida to go on a 21-2 run in the last six minutes to take a 15-point lead into the half. The Alabama defense was poor at best down the stretch, giving the Gators easy high-quality scoring opportunities and allowing them to shoot 50% from the field and 40% from deep.

At the start of the second half, we saw more of the same as the Gators' lead ballooned to 21 points at the under-16 timeout. The Tide never cut the deficit closer than ten points as poor shooting plagued the team the entire night.

This Alabama Basketball team has no chance of making a deep run in March playing the style of basketball it played tonight. The team hasn't bought in on the defensive end all season, as Oats has been asking the team to play defense since November with little improvement to show for it. When previous Nate Oats-coached teams went cold on offense, the defense was able to buckle down and make up for it. This season, it feels as if the worse the offense plays, the defense loses even more of its effort and focus.

The offense has carried this team through the season, ranking second in the nation in KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency while ranking 106th in the nation in defensive efficiency. It's truly shocking that Nate Oats has been able to get this team to 21-11 while playing such a lopsided style of play and has to leave optimism for the future.

The Tide has a week to make a change

When Alabama Basketball tips off the start of its run in the NCAA Tournament, the team will have to play significantly better than it has over its last five games, as it has allowed 92.4 points per game over said stretch.

The team will go through cold stretches on offense as all teams do, but it can't allow for the poor defense to let games slip away. At this point in the season, the team has shown all year that it doesn't play defense at a high level, so there's no reason to be surprised anymore.