BASKETBALL

What Nate Oats said about going 0-3 at Missouri, how Alabama basketball can change that

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats has had some big wins away from Coleman Coliseum during his tenure with the Crimson Tide.

This season, Alabama beat No. 1 Houston. Last season, the Crimson Tide went on the road to beat Gonzaga in Seattle.

He's also managed to beat just about every SEC team at least once on the road, as he's in the middle of his fourth season coaching Alabama. The only team he hasn't faced in the SEC on the road is Texas A&M.

And the only team he hasn't beaten on the road is Missouri. Oats has had three chances, and all have resulted in losses. He is looking to change that when No. 4 Alabama (16-2, 6-0 SEC) faces Missouri (14-4, 3-3) on Saturday (5 p.m., SEC Network) at Mizzou Arena.

“We’re just going to have to change the narrative about Missouri, to be honest with you," Oats said Friday. "We’re just going to have to go out, play hard, first four minutes have to be really good."

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It doesn't matter how good Missouri is or isn't and how good Alabama is or isn't. The result has been the same in Columbia, Missouri, for Alabama.

"The year we went 16-2, we went up there and were just flat," Oats said. "Last year, Charles (Bediako) didn’t really have a matchup. We turned to zone, didn’t work very well for us. They provide matchup problems. This year, again. Kobe Brown is an Alabama kid that is up at Missouri. Seems like he’s always up for our game. He’s a mismatch problem."

Brown, from Huntsville, dropped 30 points on Alabama a year ago in Columbia. Oats wanted it to be clear he was not the one who chose not to recruit Brown. That recruiting was before Oats' time.

"You can put that out there so he doesn't try to take it out on me," Oats joked.

Jokes aside, Missouri could be a handful for Oats' defense. The Tigers rank No. 7 in adjusted offensive efficiency in the country, per KenPom. Alabama is No. 13.

"Coach (Dennis) Gates has done a good job modernizing their offense," Oats said. "They play faster, with tempo and things like that, they play similar to the way we play. Spread the floor out. A lot of five-out stuff. A lot of threes."