Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel talks with Alambama Head Coach Nate Oats after the Crimson Tide secure a No. 2 seed in the 2021 NCAA Basktball Tournament
- Pete got the chance to catch up with an old friend of the show-- Alabama head coach Nate Oats as the Crimson Tide were on the road to Indy, literally on the bus on Sunday night following their SEC tournament victory
PETE THAMEL: we welcome in Nate Oats, coach of Alabama-- 24 and 6-- on the bus, fresh off his SEC championship with a dramatic win over LSU today. Nate, your first time in the NCAA tournament at Alabama, your fourth time as a head coach in your career in the NCAA tournament. How does it feel?
NATE OATS: It sure feels great to have won the SEC tournament. I mean, happy for our guys. You know, we've got a 2-seed. None of the brackets are easy, and we're going to have to play-- get to coach against Coach Pitino. He's-- sure he's going to have his guys ready to go.
The good thing is I've got Herb Jones and Petty and Quinerly and Shackelford, Keon Ellis-- you go down the list. So I'm not playing Coach Pitino, but my guys are going to have to play his.
PETE THAMEL: Was Rick Pitino a guy you looked up to? Your teams certainly play with a tempo, a pressure, and an edge that would mimic the style he's played over the years at his stops.
NATE OATS: Yeah. Definitely. I mean, I looked at a lot of stuff he did. When I was in high school, I think I had all his instructional tapes. And he's been doing it in a high level for a long time.
I remember watching his-- not sure-- way back when in the Providence days and then, you know, his Kentucky teams were high level and then the Louisville teams. I mean, he's been doing it at a high level for a long time.
PETE THAMEL: You've obviously had one of the best seasons in school history here at Alabama. You won the regular season SEC. You won the postseason SEC. Can Alabama be the national champion?
NATE OATS: We can. We-- we're going to have to play well on both sides of the ball. Our defense has been carrying us a little bit. Our defense was not great today against LSU.
If we get both sides of the ball going like we're capable of-- I mean, you've seen the offensive firepower, the numbers we put up when the offense is rolling. You know, we've been top five in the country on defense for a long time. If we get both of them rolling over a six-game stretch, we can definitely win the whole thing.
Now don't take that as me predicting that we're going to. We're got to put both sides of the ball together for six games, which is not always easy to do. But we definitely can.