Coach Oats, No. 5 Alabama Put Pedal to Metal in Rapid Rise

Georgia Alabama Basketball

Alabama head coach Nate Oats talks with Alabama guard John Petty Jr. (23) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Georgia on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Nate Oats didn’t just speed up Alabama’s playing style by urging his players to put the pedal to the metal whenever they got the chance. The fifth-ranked Crimson Tide’s second-year coach also mashed the accelerator in lifting the program from its recent doldrums into Southeastern Conference champions and a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Oats did it with an up tempo style and by adding key pieces to a team that already had talented players on the roster. As he readily admits, “When we came here, the cupboard wasn’t bare.”

Alabama faces Rick Pitino and Iona on Saturday.

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