Has Nate Oats become the king of SEC Basketball?

Grand Canyon v Alabama
Grand Canyon v Alabama / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

Entering the NCAA Tournament it seemed like a massive proving ground for several SEC Basketball coaches. Nate Oats was looking to show his team's style could succeed especially as the Alabama Basketball team sported an abysmal defense for a majority of the season. John Calipari looked to make a deep run after several years of disappointing exits. Rick Barnes is looking to strip the label as a March choker with his best player since he had Kevin Durant at Texas. Todd Golden looked to get his first tournament win as a head coach as his name rises as an up-and-comer. Bruce Pearl was looking to return to a Sweet Sixteen for the first time since the 2018-19 season.

The Kentucky Wildcats flamed out on the first day of the tournament again with the last time Calipari escaped opening weekend coming in the 2018-19 season. The Kentucky fanbase is over the John Calipari era and wants to part ways with the coach. It seems more and more likely that the coach who has ruled the SEC is on the way out of the conference. As Calipari is on the way out the question becomes who's the new king of the SEC?

The answer is seemingly Alabama Basketball coach Nate Oats, who's in the middle of what may be his best coaching job yet. As the Alabama Basketball coach Oats is 114-53 with a 62-28 record in the SEC which becomes far better when you remove his first season (2019-20) with Oats' record becoming 98-38 and 54-18 in conference.

During this time Nate Oats has won two SEC regular season titles and two SEC tournament titles. He's also taken the Tide to the NCAA tournament in four of his five seasons reaching the Sweet Sixteen three times. Oats' record in the opening round of the tournament is now 6-1 with the lone loss coming when Jahvon Quinerly tore his ACL early against Notre Dame in 2021-22.

Along with the success of Oats' teams, his players have seen significant success in getting to the NBA. In the first round of the NBA Draft Oats has had Brandon Miller, Noah Clowney, Josh Primo, and Kira Lewis Jr selected. In the second round, JD Davison and Herb Jones were drafted from Oats' teams. Herb Jones and Brandon Miller have been named SEC Player of the year along the way.

The recruiting classes are starting to improve based upon Nate Oats' proven track record, with the Tide's current signing class ranking seventh in the nation and third in the conference.

This season was Nate Oats' biggest challenge of any season as the Alabama Basketball head coach. The Alabama Basketball team lost five of its top six scorers and all three assistant coaches from last year, an unprecedented turnover for Oats. In turn, Oats has taken a group of transfers and unproven freshmen to a Sweet Sixteen.

The program under Nate Oats has truly been taken to never before seen heights with consistency on a yearly basis. Prior to Nate Oats, the last time the Tide went to back-to-back Sweet Sixteen's was in 1990 and 1991. Brandon Miller is tied as the highest-picked Tide alum in the NBA Draft with Antonio McDyess. The program has a coach that's constantly rumored as a candidate for any of the top job openings cementing Oats' place in college basketball.

Elite Eight is the next step for Oats

After beating Grand Canyon University Nate Oats is a win away from reaching his first career Elite Eight. If Oats makes the Elite Eight with what many consider one of his worst rosters it would be a massive step forward. The Tide have what may be the nation's top offense under Oats and if the defense can continue to match the offense Nate Oats may be cemented as one of college basketball's top coaches.

Next. Alabama wins a rock fight against GCU. Alabama wins a rock fight against GCU. dark