Oats says Tide Will Be Back After Final Four Defeat

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 24: Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nate Oats reacts to the call during the San Diego State Aztecs versus the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sweet Sixteen Round of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship South Regional on March 24, 2023, at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, KY. (Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire)

(Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire)

The Alabama Crimson Tide’s magical March Madness run came to an end Saturday night in Phoenix.

The Tide fell 86-72 to the defending national champion Connecticut Huskies, who will go for back-to-back titles tonight against Purdue.

Despite the disappointment of coming up short while being so close to a title, it was a banner year for the Crimson Tide.

Nate Oats led the team to its first Final Four in program history and, for a large part of the night on Saturday, hung right with the best team in the country while vying for a national championship appearance.

After the loss, Oats echoed a sentiment of hope for the future and said that while it is extremely upsetting to not be playing tonight, Alabama is not finished and hopes to get back to finish the job.

“They’ve been great to us since we’ve been here,” Oats said of the Crimson Tide fanbase. “I’m glad that I was a small part of bringing the Alabama fanbase some joy through the basketball team and making a Final Four.

“While it was great and I wanna thank them and our players for getting us there, we’re not finished. We’d like to get back here and win this whole thing and I think that’s what our goal is gonna be, we’re gonna aim to get back here and win the final game. We just gotta keep knocking at the door and ask for them to continue to support us like they have and we’ll continue to put a winning product out there.”

In five years as head coach, Oats has delivered Alabama three Sweet 16 appearances, its first Elite Eight appearance since 2004, and its first-ever Final Four appearance.

Not to mention four SEC championships (2 regular season, 2 tournament) and a team that is in contention year in and year out.

The Tide delivered a better game Saturday night than many expected, hanging with the best program in the nation.

While it’s fair to be disappointed with the final result of Saturday, Alabama clearly has one of the premiere coaches in college basketball and will continue to be a contender for years to come.