Alabama basketball is ranked higher than football. Here's Nate Oats' reaction
It's not every day Alabama basketball finds itself ranked higher in the AP poll than Alabama football.
In fact, it has never happened during Nick Saban's 16 seasons with the Crimson Tide.
That changed Monday.
When the AP poll was released, the Crimson Tide basketball team sat at No. 4. The football team is No. 5 as it prepares to face Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl on Dec. 31.
Basketball coach Nate Oats said he didn't realize that until it was brought up during his Monday news conference.
"It speaks to how ridiculous the football program is around here for it to go that long," Oats said.
It's also a testament to the season the Crimson Tide (8-1) is having in basketball. Alabama is fresh off a 71-65 victory over the previous No. 1 team in the AP poll, Houston, this past Saturday on the road. Alabama also beat another previous No. 1 team, North Carolina, in late November. Alabama's latest ranking is worth noting because the Crimson Tide hasn't been ranked that high since December 2006.
"I say this program has come a long way, especially with what has happened in the past," guard Mark Sears said. "I'd like to say we're becoming a basketball school. We've proven it with some big-time wins this month. So yeah, we're becoming a basketball school."
Sears later tweeted Monday to clarify his comments.
"As Coach Oats says, we're a championship school," Sears tweeted. "Just trying to be a part of a basketball program this university is proud of! Meant no disrespect to our football program and have nothing but love for them! #RollTide"
As Coach Oats says “We’re a championship school”
Just trying to be a part of a basketball program this university is proud of! Meant no disrespect to our Football program and have nothing but love for them! #RollTide
— Mark Sears (@imcsears) December 12, 2022
Next, Alabama will face Memphis (8-2) on Tuesday (8 p.m., ESPN2), the first team out of the AP Top 25.
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"It’s nice to be ranked high," Oats said. "Let’s build it up for our fans. Let’s get everybody out here Tuesday. Got the No. 4 ranked team in the country playing at home against Memphis, who’s a really good team and it will be a great game."
The ranking might be a nice feather in Oats' cap, but it won't mean a whole lot if Alabama doesn't respond well after a big win. Oats said it's easier to handle failure than it is to handle success.
"If you don’t take care of business today, it’s going to be gone," Oats said. "If you don’t take care of business tomorrow, the rankings are out the window."
Oats said he didn't know what Alabama was ranked. But he made sure to emphasize he doesn't think the football team should be ranked as low as No. 5.
"They do deserve to be in the playoff," Oats said. "We’ll see if we deserve the No. 4 ranking or not tomorrow."
This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Alabama's Mark Sears: 'We're becoming a basketball school'