With football season over, Alabama basketball steps into the spotlight with Nate Oats threatening to shatter the glass ceiling on the Crimson Tide’s hoops program.
It’s a great time to be a fan of Alabama athletics.
Monday saw Nick Saban win his sixth national championship as the Alabama football coach as the Crimson Tide got a blowout win over Ohio State. On Tuesday, Nate Oats led Alabama basketball to a blowout win over Kentucky.
Alabama students on campus must be beside themselves with so much excitement.
Normally, the end of the Alabama football season is a somber time. Well, it typically ends with a championship parade, but this year should see fans flocking to the basketball program.
Alabama no longer just a football school
After Tuesday’s 85-65 win over the Kentucky Wildcats, Alabama is now 10-3 and in first place in the SEC. The Crimson Tide should be locks for the NCAA Tournament but their sights are set on winning the SEC for the first time since 2002.
After going 16-15 in his first season, Oats is looking like the coach who won 59 games in his last two seasons on the Buffalo bench. Those years saw his teams reach the Round of 32 but the way this season is going so far, the Crimson Tide should be looking to make it to the second week and get a bigger dose of March Madness.
It’s not just a win over Kentucky, albeit a bad Kentucky team, that has fans optimistic.
Alabama basketball is riding a six-game winning streak, including the last five against SEC opponents (Ole Miss, Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, Kentucky). The win against Tennessee is the most impressive of the bunch but the latter four are arguably the best basketball programs in the SEC.
Alabama football fans are used to blitzing through SEC competition but winning against the best SEC basketball programs has long been a challenge. Oats and his team are proving Alabama can win at a high level — not at Nick Saban’s level — but at a level that is worthy of putting the spotlight on the program and seeing how far they can go in March.
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