Too much UConn ended what was an historic Alabama basketball season

Nate Oats and the Alabama basketball team gave the UConn Huskies a fight in the National Semi-Final. The loss does not mar a historic season for the Crimson Tide.
Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA

The 2023-34 Alabama Crimson Tide basketball season ended with too much UConn. The Huskies forced a half-court game and made getting open threes difficult for Alabama. The Tide took 23 threes, making 11 for a solid 47.8%. Alabama was not as effective inside the arc, making only 42.8% of its two-point attempts.

The 86-72 final score misleads. There is no question UConn is the better team but Nate Oats' team gained national respect for the way it competed against the Huskies. Even Charles Barkley gave Alabama credit saying "Nate Oats and his kids made the University of Alabama proud." Charles also showed respect to Mark Sears greeting him as the Crimson Tide leader walked off the court.

Alabama Crimson Tide Final Four Post-Game Comments

"We're not finished. We'd like to get back and win this whole thing. That's what our goal is gonna be. We're gonna aim to get back here. We're gonna aim to get back here and win the final game. We've just got to keep knocking at the door."

Nate Oats

"Our defense wasn't where it needed to be this year. We've got to address that for next year. It was good for about a four-game stretch [in the NCAA tournament]. It was good at times tonight, but it wasn't good enough to win a 40-minute game against one of the best teams in the country."

Nate Oats

Those comments and more can be seen in the video below.

For Nate Oats and his staff, next year begins now. Oats has proved he can rebuild nearly an entire roster in one offseason. Hopefully, it will not have to do that this offseason. Among the current players, only Aaron Estrada is out of eligibility. Expectations that Mark Sears and Grant Nelson were in their final college seasons may no longer be valid. Having great individual seasons, the team getting to a Final Four, maybe the Tide pair choose one more season in Tuscaloosa.

There will be roster attrition. Hopefully, the exiting players act quickly and don't surprise Nate Oats late as Charles Bediako did last season. Nate Oats has already landed one transfer. Moving from Pepperdine to Tuscaloosa is 6'5" shooting guard, Houston Mallette.

Already signed, incoming freshmen for the 2024-25 season are 5-Star, SF Derrion Reid, 4-Star, 6'11" C, Aiden Sherril,l and 4-Star SF, Naas Cunningham.

In the loss to UConn, Mark Sears led Alabama with 25 points, five rebounds and three assists. Grant Nelson scored 19 and pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds.