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Jumbo Package: Will Indiana come after Nate Oats?

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Lousiana State vs Alabama Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. The Alabama women qualified for the NCAA tournament as a 7-seed and will face North Carolina in the first round.

It’s been a breakout season for coach Kristy Curry in her eighth season in Tuscaloosa. Led by a trio of seniors, Alabama raced to an 8-0 record before losing its first game in January. The highlight of the season came in an 86-78 win at No. 14 Mississippi State on Jan. 14 but lost the other seven games against ranked opponents.

The three star seniors dominate the scoring column of Alabama’s stat sheet. Jasmine Walker averages 19.2 points a game followed by Jordan Lewis’ 16.8 and Ariyah Copeland’s 15.0 a game.

As we have mentioned before, those three seniors basically do it all, and the Tide will go as far as they can take them. It’s usually good to have a veteran group at tournament time.

On the men’s side, Indiana fired head coach Archie Miller, and immediately the focus moved to Nate Oats. Like with Saban, we are going to have to get used to this, y’all.

Oats has morphed the Crimson Tide from a middling SEC program into a futuristic 3-point shooting machine. Alabama has no problem paying for good head coaches — see Nick Saban — and the school would surely fight to keep him. But for Oats, who is from Wisconsin, it’s worth wondering if the Indiana job, with all of its tradition and potential, might be a longterm fit. Oats has a big personality, as well, and at Indiana he would be the most-recognizable face on campus. At Alabama, he’ll always be in the football coach’s shadow.

Despite the potential fit, however, sources told CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander that Oats — who carries a $14.4 million buyout in his contract, according to USA TODAY — currently has no interest in taking over the Hoosiers program.

Nate isn’t going anywhere. Not only has he already achieved things that we haven’t seen in a couple of decades, but he has the nation’s top point guard prospect signed in J.D. Davison and is expected to sign Charles Bediako, the 4th ranked center prospect and 26th overall player on the 247 composite. Add in the top JUCO big man in the country in Langston Wilson and Jasuan Holt, another four star wing, and you have another top 5 class on top of an outstanding group of returnees that includes Jahvon Quinerly, Jaden Shackelford, Keon Ellis, and Josh Primo.

Leaving that squad for an Indiana job that is not only down at the moment but has devolved into an every-other-year NCAA tournament outfit that hasn’t been to a Final Four since 2002. Yes, they were a historical power but that has been a long time ago and Nate seems pleased right where he is. His new deal also has a big buyout, which is just another mitigating factor.

Nate has legitimate rat poison to deal with, which is the first time that has happened to Alabama basketball in quite a long time.

No. 2 Alabama over No. 1 Michigan

Remember when these two squared off on the football field last year? Alabama wins again on the basketball court. Michigan was a projected No. 1 seed for a while and showed why they were one of the best teams in the country even after their lengthy COVID-19 pause. However, Alabama was consistent all year and Nate Oats built quite a basketball power in a short amount of time. If Isaiah Livers is back to full strength for the Wolverines, that might change Bilas’ mind. But in the meantime, it’s Alabama to the Final Four.

Multiple analysts have Alabama headed to the Final Four for the first time in school history. That would be amazing, but it won’t be easy. Nor should it be.

In football news, newcomer Ga’Quincy McKinstry is a man of few words.

Q: Is it set that you’re going to play corner instead of receiver at Alabama?

McKinstry: “Yes.”

Q: Could we see you returning some kicks?

McKinstry: “Yes.”

I just found that interview amusing. DeVonta Smith was also a quiet sort and he turned out pretty well, I’d say.

Last, the ACC made a landmark announcement.

This is not merely a COVID accommodation, but a permanent rule. They are clearly trying to lead the way in pushing the NCAA to approve blanket one-time waivers on a permanent basis, which is currently under discussion but hasn’t been decided. It would be interesting to see if the ACC rule would supersede the NCAA rule should the waivers be tabled, setting up a scenario where ACC players could play immediately only at other ACC schools. That would be odd.

In the short term, a similar SEC rule would help Alabama as Tennessee LB Henry To’o To’o would apparently like to play his final season in Tuscaloosa and one-time waivers were approved for this offseason only. What are your thoughts on the long term ramifications?

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.