Everything Nate Oats said following Alabama’s 67-61 loss to Texas A&M
No. 2 Alabama dropped its final game of the regular season on Saturday afternoon with a 67-61 loss to the Texas A&M Aggies.
Alabama finishes the 2022-23 regular season with an impressive 26-5 overall record and a dominant 16-2 record in SEC play.
Despite the loss, Alabama remains the top overall seed in next week’s SEC tournament in Nashville. Texas A&M will be the No. 2 seed.
Alabama struggled in the first half to get going offensively, falling behind by as many as 15 points to the Aggies.
Following the disappointing loss, Crimson Tide head coach Nate Oats addressed members of the media to discuss his team’s performance in College Station.
“I thought our effort was decent. We just had too many turnovers, couldn’t make a shot, too many mistakes on defense. They came ready to play. It turned out to be a great game for the fans. But a lot of things we didn’t do well. We fouled them too much, turned it over 18 times. They were 27-of-28 at the free-throw line. It’s not a recipe for a win. We’re gonna get our guys refocused. We’re still the No. 1 seed for the SEC Tournament. We’ll bounce back and be ready to play on Friday.”
On if his team's struggle shooting the three over the last few games is concerning
“It is. The way we play, it certainly helps to make shots. I didn’t realize we were 25-of-116 the four games? That’s not shocking. I knew we haven’t shot it well. We’ve got a week, six days before we play again. We’ll get back in the gym and try to get it fixed.”
On how much turnovers limited the team today
“A lot. I thought we played passive because we turned it over. Their press slowed the game down. That’s not how we want to play. Then when you turn it over, you start to play even more passive, which is kind of a snowball effect. I thought Quinerly got us going there in the second half. We got some stops. We were able to get out in transition, which if you’re not going against that press the whole time, I think you’re better off. But turnovers killed us. They were bad, and some of them were just not real smart plays.”
On Brandon Miller's three fouls in the last four minutes
“The last one was a tough play. The kid trips – I haven’t been able to look at the video, so I’m not gonna say one way or the other. He’s aggressive. He puts himself in tough spots sometimes. Some of those go one or the other, the blocked charge, but I don’t think the referees are trying to favor one team or another. The calls just went against us the last couple of minutes, and we’ve gotta deal with it. And they could have all been correct calls. I’ll look at it on a video and get a better idea on some of that. But we’ve gotta be better through the course of the game and not leave it up to refs’ calls in the last two minutes.”
On how the team is able to overcome slow starts; what needs to change
“We’ve got a tough, resilient group that even when they get down kind of get it back together. I don’t think we’re aggressive enough on offense. We’re turning the ball over too much early. If we the exact answer, I’d try to fix it. I’m not sure, but we’re gonna talk about it and see if we can’t – and the coaching staff’s gotta do a better job getting our guys ready to play out of the gate, too. Sometimes they settle in and start to play better through the game.
“We’ve gotta figure out a way to get them more prepared at the beginning. We’ve been struggling on both sides of the ball early. Offensively, it’s been a major problem, though. I think the last two games, we’ve had two and three points after the first media timeout, which is not how we wanna be playing. We’ve gotta do a better job prepping them with how to attack, what they’re gonna do defensively to start the game.”
On if the extended break between games will help to regroup
“Yeah, I think it’s needed. We’ve gotta get our guys’ legs back under them so we can make some shots. We’ve gotta get back in the gym, work on some individual skill stuff, particularly shooting. When you’re playing two games a week since the first week of January, there’s not a lot of time to just work on some individual skill stuff. We try to get in and do it. But not playing until Friday, we’ll give them tomorrow off and then Monday and Tuesday, it’ll be pretty much focused on what we need to do to get better.
“Our players’ skill level, shooting, some execution stuff on offense, take care of the ball and then start to focus in a little bit more on what the options would be in the 8-9 game after today. We’ll figure out what all the different options will be as far as who’s playing in the 8-9 game, who we’d play the winner of. The six days before we play a game is needed at this point.”
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