👨🏻‍💻 Tsoukalas Nate Oats urges Alabama basketball not to let up as postseason approaches

Tony_Tsoukalas

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A proud native of Watertown, Wis., Nate Oats wasn’t too happy with last year’s NBA playoffs. After seeing the Milwaukee Bucks finish the season with the league’s best record, he watched as his favorite team sputtered in the second round of the playoffs, ultimately getting knocked out by the eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat.

Oats is determined his Alabama team won’t suffer the same fate this postseason.

During an appearance on the Paul Finebaum Show earlier this week, the Crimson Tide basketball coach compared his team's current situation to that of the Bucks when the NBA resumed play amid the pandemic last season. No. 8 Alabama clinched the SEC regular-season title last weekend, assuring itself the No. 1 seed in next week's SEC tournament.

“This is not the NBA, but you look at the NBA bubble,” Oats said during the interview. “I think the Bucks had the best record coming in, and they kind of coasted into the playoffs a bit and maybe rested some guys. I don’t want to do that these last two games. I want to push hard and get back to our main group playing as hard and as well as they can be playing.”

After clinching the title, Alabama did a good job of refocusing itself earlier this week with a 70-58 victory over rival Auburn. Of course, that game had a few motivating factors behind it. The Tide was able to secure its first sweep of the Tigers since 2015 while the matchup served as Alabama’s final home game of the season and an opportunity to cut down the nets inside Coleman Coliseum.

This weekend’s regular-season finale at Georgia carries far less significance and might require a bit more focus from Tide players. During a Friday Zoom call with reporters, Oats admitted that it would be easy for his team to view Saturday’s game against the Bulldogs as insignificant as the Tide has little to gain from the matchup. However, that’s not the way Alabama plans on approaching its trip to Athens, Ga.

"I don't think it's meaningless,” Oats said. “I think we need to get back playing well. The last time we did play well on offense was that game, but we didn't play good on defense. We haven't had a great game on both sides of the ball here for a while. So if we could do that heading into SEC tournament play, I think that’d be the best.”

Alabama blew out Georgia 115-82 inside Coleman Coliseum last month, marking the second-highest single-game points total the Tide has recorded in program history. Since that win, Alabama’s offense has dropped dramatically, recording 70 or fewer points in each of the last three games while combining for just 200 points of offense over that span — its lowest combined points total over a three-game stretch this season.

Oats called Saturday’s road matchup against Georgia a nice test heading into next week’s SEC tournament, stating that he doesn’t plan on resting any of his players. Following this weekend’s game, Alabama will have a bye in the conference tournament before opening up play next Friday against either the No. 8 or No. 9 seed. Currently, that would be either Mississippi State or Kentucky, two teams the Tide swept during the regular season.

Oats pointed out that his team’s time together could be limited depending on its performance over the next few weeks. Alabama has at least three games remaining — Georgia, at least one game in the SEC tournament and at least one more in the NCAA tournament. Other than that, it’s up to the Tide’s players to determine how long they can extend this year’s magical run.

“Let’s make sure that we’re playing every last game we have this season to the full capability of this team,” Oats said.

Oats demonstrated that same mindset when asked about his thoughts on conference tournaments. While some college coaches have spoken out against the idea of conference tournaments, especially amid COVID-19 concerns, Oats has remained adamant in his support of playing as many games as possible. The former Buffalo head coach won three conference tournaments in his four seasons with the Bulls before coming to Alabama last season. This year will mark his first postseason with the Tide as last year’s SEC tournament was wiped out due to the pandemic.

“I think it’s another chance for your kids to win a championship,” Oats said. “Like there’s a limited amount of championships they can win. You’ve got a regular season, a conference tournament and then you get to the NCAA tournament. Well, the NCAA tournament’s, I mean that’s hard to win. I mean, the SEC tournament’s hard to win, don’t get me wrong. It’s just another chance for guys to have great memories of their college experience. I like them. I know some people haven’t spoken as highly of them. … Whatever you can benefit your player from, I’m all for it. This is one of those where [you can].

"As far as us going into it, we are the No. 1 seed, but we’ve got to get back to playing our best basketball on both sides of the ball.”

As far as Oats is concerned, that starts Saturday against Georgia at 1 p.m. CT inside Stegeman Coliseum.
 

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A proud native of Watertown, Wis., Nate Oats wasn’t too happy with last year’s NBA playoffs. After seeing the Milwaukee Bucks finish the season with the league’s best record, he watched as his favorite team sputtered in the second round of the playoffs, ultimately getting knocked out by the eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat.

Oats is determined his Alabama team won’t suffer the same fate this postseason.

During an appearance on the Paul Finebaum Show earlier this week, the Crimson Tide basketball coach compared his team's current situation to that of the Bucks when the NBA resumed play amid the pandemic last season. No. 8 Alabama clinched the SEC regular-season title last weekend, assuring itself the No. 1 seed in next week's SEC tournament.

“This is not the NBA, but you look at the NBA bubble,” Oats said during the interview. “I think the Bucks had the best record coming in, and they kind of coasted into the playoffs a bit and maybe rested some guys. I don’t want to do that these last two games. I want to push hard and get back to our main group playing as hard and as well as they can be playing.”

After clinching the title, Alabama did a good job of refocusing itself earlier this week with a 70-58 victory over rival Auburn. Of course, that game had a few motivating factors behind it. The Tide was able to secure its first sweep of the Tigers since 2015 while the matchup served as Alabama’s final home game of the season and an opportunity to cut down the nets inside Coleman Coliseum.

This weekend’s regular-season finale at Georgia carries far less significance and might require a bit more focus from Tide players. During a Friday Zoom call with reporters, Oats admitted that it would be easy for his team to view Saturday’s game against the Bulldogs as insignificant as the Tide has little to gain from the matchup. However, that’s not the way Alabama plans on approaching its trip to Athens, Ga.

"I don't think it's meaningless,” Oats said. “I think we need to get back playing well. The last time we did play well on offense was that game, but we didn't play good on defense. We haven't had a great game on both sides of the ball here for a while. So if we could do that heading into SEC tournament play, I think that’d be the best.”

Alabama blew out Georgia 115-82 inside Coleman Coliseum last month, marking the second-highest single-game points total the Tide has recorded in program history. Since that win, Alabama’s offense has dropped dramatically, recording 70 or fewer points in each of the last three games while combining for just 200 points of offense over that span — its lowest combined points total over a three-game stretch this season.

Oats called Saturday’s road matchup against Georgia a nice test heading into next week’s SEC tournament, stating that he doesn’t plan on resting any of his players. Following this weekend’s game, Alabama will have a bye in the conference tournament before opening up play next Friday against either the No. 8 or No. 9 seed. Currently, that would be either Mississippi State or Kentucky, two teams the Tide swept during the regular season.

Oats pointed out that his team’s time together could be limited depending on its performance over the next few weeks. Alabama has at least three games remaining — Georgia, at least one game in the SEC tournament and at least one more in the NCAA tournament. Other than that, it’s up to the Tide’s players to determine how long they can extend this year’s magical run.

“Let’s make sure that we’re playing every last game we have this season to the full capability of this team,” Oats said.

Oats demonstrated that same mindset when asked about his thoughts on conference tournaments. While some college coaches have spoken out against the idea of conference tournaments, especially amid COVID-19 concerns, Oats has remained adamant in his support of playing as many games as possible. The former Buffalo head coach won three conference tournaments in his four seasons with the Bulls before coming to Alabama last season. This year will mark his first postseason with the Tide as last year’s SEC tournament was wiped out due to the pandemic.

“I think it’s another chance for your kids to win a championship,” Oats said. “Like there’s a limited amount of championships they can win. You’ve got a regular season, a conference tournament and then you get to the NCAA tournament. Well, the NCAA tournament’s, I mean that’s hard to win. I mean, the SEC tournament’s hard to win, don’t get me wrong. It’s just another chance for guys to have great memories of their college experience. I like them. I know some people haven’t spoken as highly of them. … Whatever you can benefit your player from, I’m all for it. This is one of those where [you can].

"As far as us going into it, we are the No. 1 seed, but we’ve got to get back to playing our best basketball on both sides of the ball.”

As far as Oats is concerned, that starts Saturday against Georgia at 1 p.m. CT inside Stegeman Coliseum.
another very good article. thanks