Nate Oats: “Somehow I caught enough breaks, it's just unreal"

Mar 30, 2024; Los Angeles, CA, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nate Oats cuts the net.
Mar 30, 2024; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nate Oats cuts the net. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama is heading to the Final Four… but this time, it’s for basketball. The Crimson Tide’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament Final Four comes after an impressive win over the Clemson Tigers.

Clemson, who had already taken down Arizona and Baylor on its way to the Elite Eight, gave Alabama a run for its money throughout the second half.

However, the Tide was able to pull out yet another postseason victory to punch its ticket to the next round of the Big Dance.

“They made a run on us in the second half but we hit timely three after timely three,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said after the game. “Just really proud of these guys, gonna enjoy it for a night.”

So far this year, Oats and the Tide have gone 25-11 overall. In the NCAA Tournament, Alabama defeated Charleston, Grand Canyon, North Carolina, and now Clemson, on its way to the Final Four.

Mark Sears led Alabama in scoring with 23 points. Sears also contributed 3 rebounds and 2 assists to the Tide’s performance.

“Just feeling a lot of emotions. Being from the state of Alabama and doing it with this group of guys, it’s just amazing,” Sears said.

Before this season, the deepest the Crimson Tide had made it through the NCAA Tournament was the Elite Eight in 2004. Alabama lost to the UConn Huskies and failed to reach the Final Four.

And guess who the Tide has to take on next… The UConn Huskies.

While Oats and his squad can celebrate this win tonight, they’ll need to snap back into focus for their upcoming matchup with the Huskies.

UConn, the No. 1 team in the country, has taken down opponents by 17 points or more so far this tournament and hasn’t looked to be slowing down by any means. The Huskies obliterated the Illinois Fighting Illini in their Elite Eight game and will be out for more blood against Alabama.

“Somehow I caught enough breaks, it's just unreal," Oats said.

While Alabama may run the gamut on college football trophy cases, this will be the Tide’s first chance at bringing the NCAA Tournament title home to Tuscaloosa.

Alabama and UConn will face each other on April 6 in Glendale, AZ. All Final Four matchups will be available on TBS and TNT as well as NCAA March Madness Live.

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