What Nick Saban said about Alabama basketball's NCAA Tournament run to the Sweet 16

Teddy Couch
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama football coach Nick Saban knows a thing or two about building a culture for a program. 

That was one of the things he pointed out about Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats and his team's run to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.

"The culture of that program, because of what coach Oats has done, really shined through this year in the way that team played," Saban said Tuesday. "The way they improved. The way they competed. The way they played together. I think all those things are critical in having a successful program."

That's something Saban feels will only help the future of the basketball team.

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"I think that's what a lot of players want to be involved with, too," Saban said. "So hopefully that'll help us in recruiting to get some really good players for the future. I know we got some good young players on our team so to complement them."

What did Saban admire most about the basketball team? Its competitiveness. 

"How hard they played and how they came back in games," Saban said. "They won some really close, tough games. Really good mental toughness."

Saban pointed at the UCLA loss Sunday as an example of how the team rallied to force overtime, before eventually losing 88-78. 

"We just seemed out of sorts in the game the other day, which I don't really know why," Saban said. "But the guys played hard, competed hard and I really have a tremendous amount of respect for that."

Reach Gadsden Times reporter Teddy Couch at teddy.couch@gadsdentimes.com or via Twitter, @Teddy_Couch.