Nate Oats: 'We could not have the other school in the state having the only Final Four in the state'

On3 imageby:Dan Morrison04/02/24

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THIS IS the Golden Era of Alabama men's basketball

For the first time in program history, the Alabama Crimson Tide have made the Final Four. It was an accomplishment that head coach Nate Oats knows was a big deal when it comes to in-state bragging rights.

While speaking about the accomplishment, Oats explained Alabama couldn’t have Auburn being the only school in the state with a trip to the Final Four. Of course, he didn’t call out Auburn by name, but it’s hard to imagine that he was speaking about any other school.

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“We’re here,” Nate Oats said. “We could not have the other school in the state having the only Final Four in the state. That didn’t sit well. That had to change. I’m sorry it took 5 years but we got it changed. We couldn’t have them having the only Final Four in the state.”

Auburn made it to the Final Four back in 2019 and it’s no surprise that it’s been on the Crimson Tide’s mind that they might need their own trip to keep the score even with their rival. Now, five years later and in Nate Oats’ fifth season with the program, Alabama has made the Final Four too.

“So, we now have one. We’ve got our hands full trying to get out of that first game in the Final Four but we’re gonna give it everything we’ve got,” Oats said.

Now, Alabama has a chance to pass Auburn’s Final Four accomplishment by making or even winning the national championship. However, to do so, Alabama will need to get through UConn, the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. It’s a task that Nate Oats and his staff are already working on.

“I made a quick pit stop, watched a lot of video this afternoon, quick pit stop here. Go home and watch more video tonight. We’ll get a gameplan together. Our staff’s been on it. We’ve got some basketball junkies on staff that have put together some pretty good gameplans,” Oats said.

“We’ll get a good gameplan in place and then we’ve had the players step up game after game after game. So, I’m pretty confident we’ll have some guys step up on Saturday.”

Paul Finebaum praises Nate Oats for leading Alabama to Final Four

SEC Network analyst Paul Finebaum recently praised Nate Oats for leading Alabama to the Final Four.

“At first, I thought it might be an April Fool’s joke. But I watched the game so I knew better. It’s that hard to wrap your arms around, especially for some people like me and others who have been watching Alabama Basketball for, really, since the beginning of time. There have been so many close calls and so many really better teams. But, under Nats Oats, instead of seeming or feeling like a joke? It feels like the real deal because it is. Since the day he was hired five years ago, he has been leading this program to new heights and to a place where it doesn’t feel like an outlier,” Finebaum said.

“Last year, it felt like it was on track. Then I think controversy and everything that went with the Brandon Miller case got in the way. This year? It didn’t seem likely because the team just was such a redo from last year. But that’s where coaching comes in. You see it all the time in March and now April where, simply, a great coach can mold the team in spite of what happened in Lexington six or seven weeks ago or anywhere else. I think it’s a remarkable tribute to a number of people but, namely, Greg Byrne for having the foresight to go out and take a shot at someone he knew was a good coach but most of us had never heard of. And, obviously, just the support that Nate Oats has received.”