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Everything Nate Oats said following Alabama’s 117-95 loss at Kentucky

The Alabama basketball team suffered an embarrassing road loss on Saturday at the hands of the Kentucky Wildcats, 117-95.

While the offense was most good, the Crimson Tide defense flat-out laid an egg allowing the Wildcats to shoot an incredible 63% from the field and 54% from the three-point line.

Alabama’s defense has been a question mark all season long and this may have been the low-point for the Tide. While Kentucky is an elite offensive team, the Tide did nothing to provide any resistance to the Wildcat offense.

Following the loss, head coach Nate Oats met with the media. Below is everything he had to say:

Opening statement

Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

“Kentucky was ready to play today, and we weren’t. Cal had his guys ready to go. I didn’t. They looked great. We looked awful. Our defensive intensity was not good. I told our guys after the game, we’ve had question marks all year. Those question marks are completely erased today. Everybody knows that we don’t really guard at this point because our effort stunk. Part of the issue was we turned it, and they scored 29 points off our 16 turnovers. You can’t turn the ball over that much. Our starting backcourt had too many turnovers. We need to do a better job taking care of the ball.

“We had us for giving up 16 points in transition – not including the points off turnovers. So you take the 29 points off turnovers, 16 other points in transition and all of a sudden you’re at 45 points before you even get in your halfcourt defense and get a chance to get a stop. And then once we got in the halfcourt, I didn’t think we were that great either. Kentucky shot the ball well, too. They’re a team that’s supposed to be able to shoot, and they shot it twice as good as we did. We gave up 54 percent from three. We gave up 63 percent from the field.

“Any kind of decent defense was played in the last eight minutes when I thought the game was already over. That’s when Kentucky was probably coasting at the end. So there’s not a lot of positives about this. The only positive thing was we played well on offense through the course of the year to be tied for first place after that horrendous effort. We’ve got four games left, and we’ve got to try to figure out how to get these guys a little more motivated to play harder on defense.”

On Kentucky's transition offense

Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

“We knew transition defense was key to the game, and we knew if we turned it over, it was gonna fuel their transition. So I didn’t have a third point guard to point that wasn’t gonna turn it over. It would have helped having Latrell Wrightsell, but he wasn’t gonna make up 22 points tonight. But he is shooting it better than the rest of our guys and taking care of the ball better than the rest of them, so it would have helped to have him. It certainly wasn’t gonna make a difference today. We needed everybody to play a lot better. I’m not sure what else I would have done to change up. We’re certainly not gonna walk the ball up the floor. And I don’t know if that would have helped anyways with turning the ball over more, probably.

“Most of our turnovers weren’t transition turnovers. They were just careless passes, being careless with the ball, throwing it straight to the other team in pick-and-roll. I’d have to go through 16 turnovers to tell you all of them. But yeah, we knew that they were dangerous in transition. We knew we couldn’t turn it over. We turned over, and I felt like we had too many guys not give us an effort to get back in transition, get matched up and they made us pay. We suspected that they if we didn’t do a good job.”

On Alabama's issues on defense

Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

“There’s no perfect offense. We gave up a 1.46 tonight. The best offense in the country, I don’t know if there’s many games in the country where somebody scored better than a 1.46. Kentucky is a good offensive team. They were top 10 coming into the game. Cal has done a really good job kind of fixing the shooting issues he’s had in the past. He recruited some shooters. They’ve got some shooters, and he had some other guys – Justin Edwards goes 4-for-4. He hadn’t been shooting it all that great. We let Dillingham, Sheppard and Reeves all shoot over 50 percent, too.

“He’s done a good job getting the roster fixed to where they’ve got good shooting, space the floor out. Obviously, they’re better on offense, but look, if the defense isn’t fixable. We’re not gonna be able to win any big games. I don’t know that it’s fixable to the point where we can be like we were last year where we were third in the country. That’s past the point of doing that. But maybe we can hold somebody to a 1.1, 1.2 instead of a 1.46, and hopefully, our offense is a 1.2 or 1.3, which that points a lot of pressure on your offense every night out.

“But our offense has been pretty good. Even tonight, it wasn’t awful. Take away the 16 turnovers, it wasn’t a total disaster. We were a 1.17. If we could get our defense down to a 1.1, we probably would have a chance. I think there’s part of its (that is) fixable. Some of it, I don’t know.”

On Justin Edwards

Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

“He’s 10-for-10 from the field. Shoot, he didn’t miss a shot. He’s a guy that’s big, strong, physical and he goes 4-of-4 from three and you don’t do a very good job cutting him off. I thought we gave up backcuts, and we just weren’t locked in on the defensive end. I didn’t have these guys ready to go well enough. But when a guy like that that’s as athletic as him, like he goes 4-of-4 from three, you’re in trouble.”

On Rylan Griffen

Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

“He’s definitely getting better. We rely on him more. He’s a pretty smart kid. He’s usually been decent on defense. He’s kind of been one of the brighter spots, at least his on-ball defense. He needed to be better for us on defense. It’d be nice if he shot it a little bit better. But we can’t rely on just shooting, making 12-15 threes to win games. Six-of-17, we didn’t get up as many as we wanted. A large part of that is how Kentucky guarded. They wanted to run us off the line. They did a really good job. Rylan got up the most of anybody, but he was solid. Shoot, he didn’t have a turnover. That’s better than you can say about most of the roster tonight.”

On Kentucky's three guard lineup with Edwards, Zvonimir Ivisic

Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

“Z had 18 points in less than 20 minutes. We didn’t do a very good job guarding him at all. We were supposed to switch. We knew he was a shooter. We were switch coverage and give up a three. Pick-and-pop is not supposed to work against a switching coverage, and we switched and somehow he still popped and got off a three. Our guys were not on the same page defensively. Look, those three guards are obviously uber-talented, shoot it, score it. … Edwards goes 10-of-10, Z goes 7-of-11 and you’ve got three really talented guards that can all pass, dribble and shoot, that’s a really good offensive group, and we didn’t guard. We obviously didn’t make them pay on our end.

“I’m guessing that maybe that group doesn’t play as much together because they’re a more defensive group. But if they’re gonna score it every time down, it doesn’t matter. They’re hitting threes every other possession and scoring every time down. I don’t know what that defensive group had over that eight minutes, but I’m guessing it was good enough to probably look at playing that lineup. We will probably helped Cal out a little bit tonight figuring some lineups out that worked because shoot, they scored 28 points in six minutes? Yeah, I’m guessing the efficiency over that six minutes is probably over a 2.0 or something, which is absurd. I don’t know what kind of records they set tonight on offense, but I’m guessing they set a few.”

On turnovers on the road

Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

“Our guards gotta take care of the ball. They were just careless with some of them. Mark and Aaron are really good guards, but to have 11 turnovers between your starting backcourt, that’s not a recipe for winning basketball. And again, Kentucky was pretty good defensively. They’ve had their defensive woes as we have, but today, we looked way worse than they were defensively. They were better today. But Tennessee, Auburn got up into us. They were physical. Today, I’d have to go back and look at everyone. I remember some of them were just careless. Some of them, they got in the paint and clogged the air. We just weren’t disciplined enough with our ball security, making some undisciplined plays, to be honest with you.”

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Story originally appeared on Roll Tide Wire