Nate Oats has defined a new ceiling for Alabama Basketball

Alabama Basketball has not come close to the ceiling Nate Oats has defined for it. at the same time, Oats has shown he is the coaching answer to lead the Crimson Tide to a national title.
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Whatever happens on Thursday night in Los Angeles, Nate Oats has taken Alabama Basketball to a new level. That level is a genuine expectation that Nate Oats can lead the Alabama Crimson Tide to a National Championship.

Most Alabama fans remember Mark Gottfried took the 2004 Crimson Tide team to the Elite Eight. Others can add that Wimp Sanderson led Alabama to 10 NCAA Tournaments in his 12 seasons. So how valid is the claim that Nate Oats has taken Alabama Basketball to a new level?

Let's dive into Crimson Tide Hoops history. Mark Gottfried coached one SEC Championship team. In 2002 Alabama was the SEC Regular Season Champion. No Gottfried team ever won an SEC Tournament Championship Game. Wimp's teams had great SEC Tournament success, with the Crimson Tide winning five times in his 12 seasons. With all that tournament success, Wimp's teams won only one SEC Regular Season Championship.

If the Tide's winning pace continues, Nate Oats with two SEC Tournament Championships in five seasons is comparable to what Wimp achieved. Oats is far ahead of the other two Alabama coaches with two SEC Regular Season Championships in five seasons.

Along with the many trips to the Sweet 16 made while Wimp was the Alabama Basketball head coach, there were also three First Round losses and two Second Round losses. Except for the 2004 team, Mark Gottfried's Alabama teams lost in the First Round twice and the Second Round twice.

in Wimp's first five seasons, two of his teams made the Sweet 16. Nate Oats surpassed that with three Sweet 16 teams in five seasons

The facts above suggest, but do not prove that Nate Oats has taken Alabama Basketball to a new level. The proof is not clear, but listen carefully to Oats and his players and there is a noticeable difference from the earlier coaching eras. The difference is belief. It is not that the Alabama Crimson Tide can win a National Championship, but that it will.

Talk is of course a far cry from achieving a goal. But championships are not won until a team believes it can. Doing it this season is not likely. What Nate Oats says is " ... we’ve gotten this program to a level that is what Alabama sports should have their athletics at. Now we’ve got to make another step."

An Alabama Basketball National Championship?

Getting there might come soon or it might never come. But Nate Oats is fielding rosters that fully believe that some season Nate Oats and Alabama Basketball will win the NCAA Tournament.

An example of the Crimson Tide's new level of belief is a statement this week by Rylan Griffen. "We know you can upset teams like we got upset last year. We’re coming in with that mentality, like, we can beat anybody."

Griffen made two more 'belief' comments. Comparing last year to this year, Griffen said, "we’re a little bit more loose. Carolina’s probably feeling a little tight." It takes a solid level of confidence to suggest a college basketball blue blood program might play tight.

What stands out most was another Griffen comment,

"He's (Oats) the GOAT, in my opinion. He hasn't gotten a natty yet, but trust me, he'll get a natty eventually."

Rylan Griffen

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