Not everyone in Tuscaloosa is focused on the upcoming national champion game later tonight. Nate Oats, head coach of Alabama’s basketball team, has his own game to worry about, a road contest against Kentucky in Rupp Arena tomorrow night.
Oats took questions from Alabama’s practice facility before his team makes the trip to Lexington for the battle of SEC unbeatens. Asked what he sees in the Wildcats, Oats said, “Cal is really good at taking young talent and getting them playing hard. This season, obviously, he didn’t have as much time early with COVID stuff, so they’re starting to hit their stride maybe a few weeks later, a month later, than usually they would. But they’re hitting it. They’re playing really well.”
As for what his team will need to do to remain unbeaten and atop the standings in SEC play, Oats said, “We’re going to have to take care of the ball. Our offense is going to have to be solid and help our defense, keep them out of transition. We’re going to have to stay in front of the ball and rebound the ball, but they’ve got guys that are going to play in the NBA. They may be young and experienced, and Cal wasn’t able to get them quite where he wanted early in the year, but they’re there now. We’re playing them at their best basketball.”
For what it’s worth, Oats also noted Alabama has game planned as if Terrence Clarke will make his return. “We’re prepping for Terrence Clarke playing,” Oats said. “We’re preparing to play everybody that Kentucky has on the roster right now.”
Hear all of his comments in the interview on Alabama’s website.
We’ll learn more about Clarke from John Calipari on his call-in show tonight.