Oats Knows Iron Bowl of Hoops Will be Tough
Nate Oats and his Alabama basketball will have their hands full when Auburn comes calling Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. for the Iron Bowl of basketball. Bruce Pearl's Tiger are the lone unbeaten team in conference play at 5-0 and are ranked * in the country.
Here's a look at what Oats had to say about the matchup in a Tuesday media availability:
"We're coming off a tough loss. We didn't play well at Tennessee. They exposed some things.We've got to take care of the ball better. Mark, Rylan and Aaron.
"Auburn turns people over. It's their strength on defense. Auburn's playing well. They're shooting well and playing great defense.
"It's going to be a typical Alabama/Auburn game. These tend to be tough, hard- fought games. It will be an intense game. "We have go play with more intensity than we did at Tennessee.
"Jaylin Williams is shooting it well."
On the big men
"We've struggled when we played some of the best bigs in the country. Broome is the leading scorer for Auburn. He's really good.
"Nick [Pringle's] got got do a good job on him without fouling. We may have to move Grant [Nelson] on him. Broome is definitely a concern for us."
"They've got a freshman point guard Aden Holloway doing a good job running their team and taking care of the ball.
"They trap and try to turn you over. We may need to be a little more aggressive at times.
"We don't have to turn them over to have a good defensive performance. We're not going to start gambling, going for steals."
On the rivalry
"Coach Pearl turned that program around. They've done a good job. Since 2016 there's been nine first round picks in the Alabama/Auburn games.
"Fans get into it. I'm sure our environment here will be great. It's gone from a big game in the state of Alabama to a big game in the country.
"They're in first in the league. We're one game behind. If we beat them, we're tied for first place."
On KD Johnson
"He's going to have a little different edge to him. He's a very emotional guy. Talks a lot. We won't treat him like a 20 per cent shooter."
On the gap between the teams
"Record wise they're significantly better. In the games that matter we're not coming up with wins. They have.
"We've got to figure out how to win tough, close games. Talent's not everything. I hope we've got some competitive guys.
"Today's practice looked a lot more like what it's supposed to look like."
On defending home court
"A win at home would go a long ways to a league championship. If we can beat them, we'll be right in it and they won't sweep us.
"We've got to get ourselves going. We need to play like it's for a league championship."
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