With one of the best starts in program history, one of the most talented basketball rosters to ever grace the University of Alabama, and a team dealing with unprecedented circumstances yet still being expected to perform at the highest level, it almost felt like Saturday’s disaster against Oklahoma was bound to happen at some point. And disaster may be an understatement. The 93-69 loss to the Sooners was the worst of the Nate Oats era and the Crimson Tide did not look like a team that could even compete for a conference title let alone make a deep run in March.
The good news for Alabama, however, is that it was a road non-conference game in January, and if they can right the ship, they will have every opportunity to put this brutal game in their rearview as they set their sights on bigger and better.
Let’s have some perspective. Alabama is 18-3, still undefeated in-conference and in the driver’s seat for an SEC title as well as the first #1 seed in program history in the NCAA Tournament.
All this being said, Nate Oats must get this right, and fast. Alabama will take on Vanderbilt tonight and LSU on Saturday, both teams they have defeated already. The Crimson Tide must tune things up over these two, because after that, it gets tough. Matchups against Florida at home before back-to-back road trips for their two toughest games of the conference season against Auburn and Tennessee will show a lot about exactly what this team is capable of in March, as well as just how mentally tough they are.
A lot of teams would let a loss like Saturday derail their season. Oats cannot let this happen. This team is too talented and has too much ahead of them to not just simply put a bad game behind them and look ahead to the rest of the year. It all starts with handling their business against Vanderbilt tonight.