Alabama Basketball’s ‘Blue Collar’ Key to Year 2 Turnaround
The No. 8 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide have been characterized by their fast-paced three-point heaving style of offense the past two seasons. But Nate Oats has put an emphasis on the other end of the floor. The Tide dropped to the No. 2 spot in the defensive efficiency rankings after playing Georgia according to Kenpom. This is based on the average of points scored per 100 defensive possessions, in which Alabama has averaged 86.7.
As Alabama fans, seeing our teams at the top of rankings has become normalized. However, this is not normal for Alabama basketball. Last season, they finished ranked 114th in defensive efficiency. This is a ginormous leap for the program under Nate Oats in just his second year, and the hype could not be bigger.
"Defense is the only thing you can control really; you can't control if shots are going to fall that night," forward Alex Reese said in a press conference this week.
The Tide has taken pride in what they can control, and they have done it consistently. They are allowing just 70.1 points per game this season and holding opponent 3-point percentage below 30 percent.
The defense begins and ends with the leadership of midseason Naismith Finalist, Herb Jones. Herb has always been known for playing good defense and using his 6-foot-8 frame to lockdown the opposition. He can guard any position on the floor and is definitely a huge contributor to the Tide's number one defense ranking.
Defense is about consistent effort and wanting it more than the guy in the other color jersey. The players have shown that they are proud to be at Alabama, and they want to give all they can for the success of the program. Even when the threes are few and far between, the awareness on defense helps the Tide get turnovers and get quick points in transition.
Nate Oats has established the "blue-collar basketball" mentality among the team, and everyone has bought in and is executing his vision.
Alabama looks to take the defense on the road to Texas A&M on Thursday, Feb. 17 at . barring any further issues with the winter storm that is sweeping the nation. The game can be seen on SEC Network and can be heard on 95.3 The Bear.
Alabama Basketball All-Time Scoring Leaders