Nate Oats weighs in on Alabama's biggest problems during rough stretch
Nate Oats and the Alabama Crimson Tide have been erratic this year. On Tuesday night, they lost in Athens to a bad Georgia team that entered the game with an 0-6 mark in SEC play.
There have been a few head-scratching losses for the Tide this year, and Oats is tired of preaching to his team after those games.
“I wanted to hear what they had to say,” Oats said Wednesday. “I walked in and I said, ‘I’m done talking after these losses, I need to hear what you guys think the problem is.’ And they talked, and it was good. We got some stuff out. Some guys shared what their opinions were.
“Saying it after a game is one thing, doing it (is another).”
Then, Oats weighed in with his own thoughts on what the Tide have been doing that has caused them to struggle:
“We’ve got large stretches of the game where we’re a really good defensive team,” Oats said. “Like our Missouri game two games ago, we had a bad start to the game, bad start to the second half. We were a 0.82 points per possession the other 32 two minutes of the game. Those first four minutes of each half, when you combine them, we were at a 2.2.
“We have first-, second-half splits. We’re much better in the first half defensively than we are in the second half on the year. … There’s things that we do at a pretty high level or pretty good and then we just, as the game moves on later in the game, we start to lose our focus, lose our attention to detail and we get bad. And two of the worst that we do defensively is we foul too much and we give up too many O boards. We’re trying to fix that.
“Offensively, we haven’t been shooting it well. Our offense is still the 10th-ranked offense in the country. We’ve done a lot of other things well, but shooting covers a multitude of sins and we’ve gotta start shooting the ball a little bit better. And then when our turnovers are kept down to a minimum, we’re pretty good, too. (Tuesday), we had 19 turnovers at Georgia, and they only had five or six steals. Most of them are unforced turnovers.
“It seems most of our damage is we’re doing it to ourselves in these games. I think we can fix that. We’ve just gotta get guys’ confidence up, their minds right, and that’s part of coaching. There’s a lot that goes into coaching. The analytics are part of it, the psychology’s part of it. I think the psychology part is a little more important at this stage for us right now.”
Alabama does have a pair of incredible wins on its NCAA Tournament resume, having taken down Gonzaga and Houston — 2 of last year’s Final Four teams — earlier this season. On Saturday, the Tide will host reigning champion Baylor in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. We’ll see if another big win is in store for Oats and the Tide.