Alabama Basketball has a 'Brain Trust' advantage over UConn

UConn may be better than Alabama Basketball in on-court personnel, but off the court, Alabama's 'Brain Trust' can be the equalizer.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

As a decided underdog, Alabama Basketball faces a challenge on Saturday night. It is well-known how difficult it is for any team to beat UConn. However, the Alabama Crimson Tide potentially has an equalizer that is collectively more astute than any other college basketball team.

The Crimson Tide has a group of analytics experts having no rival in college basketball. Describing the group as the Alabama Basketball 'Brain Trust' is valid. Nate Oats was an analytics guy before Alabama hired him. With Alabama's resources, he has created an off-court team of unrivaled analytics experts.

On the Alabama Crimson Tide staff list provided by, only two names are identified as engaged in data analysis and player development. They are Andrew Bauman and Christian Pino. Along with the identified pair are others, that with Nate Oats and his staff, fill out the Crimson Tide's 'Brain Trust.'

With a recent story by Dennis Dodd, the Crimson Tide's background guys are being talked about as Nate Oats' secret weapon. The additional analytics wizards are Michael Schwimer and Jacob Kohn. Schwimer is the founder and CEO of Big League Advantage (BLA).

"The Big League Advantage analytics team is comprised of experts in the fields of machine learning, data science, and predictive statistics."

BLA website

BLA has many clients, primarily individual athletes. It has two college basketball clients; the Duke Blue Devils and the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Does Alabama Basketball have a gameplan advantage?

Schwimer and Kohn, along with Nate Oats, Alabama's assistant coaches, and Adam Bauman combined on the game plans for North Carolina and Clemson. One example of the group's effectiveness is when Clemson went to a zone against Alabama. Tide assistant Ryan Pannone credited Adam Bauman's adjustment to a zone offense that paid off immediately.

Such adjustments are components of game plans that in no small measure are created by Schwimer and Kohn. Oats and his staff decide what and when to use game plan components. Oats is still Alabama's 'Mad Scientist' but he has plenty of help. BLA brings to the Crimson Tide unsurpassed data science and analytics expertise.

Going back to Buffalo, Nate Oats has been "all in on win probability." Dennis Dodd defined it as "basically, a form of basketball card counting -- what's likely to happen based on past results."

It worked against North Carolina when a couple of Tar Heels had unexpected success shooting threes. Oats with advice from Schwimer, stuck to the Tide's original game plan. Oats would call it believing in "reverting to the mean." The Tar Heels reverted after halftime and the Crimson Tide won.

According to Pannone, Schwimer had a gameplan for UConn prepared 90 minutes after the win over Clemson. College basketball experts say Alabama's style and tempo can trouble UConn. If correct, credit the Alabama Crimson Tide's 'Brain Trust'.

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