Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats isn't scared to play anybody.
That's especially true this coming season when the Crimson Tide will play three of the Final Four teams from a season ago in Houston, Baylor and Gonzaga. So Oats isn't sweating about adding powerhouse programs like Oklahoma and Texas to the Southeastern Conference.
“I think it makes our league a lot stronger,” Oats said on The Paul Finebaum Show. “Those are two high-level basketball programs. I don’t have anything to do with any of those decisions — when they come in, if they come in, any of that. I think we’ve got the best commissioner in college athletics in Greg Sankey, and I think he’ll make great decisions for our league. But if and when they were to come in our league, I think they’ve got eight combined Final Fours."
Both Oklahoma and Texas will have first-year coaches during the 2021-2022 campaign, as the Sooners hired Loyola Chicago's Porter Moser and the Longhorns hired Texas Tech's Chris Beard. Both have coached in a Final Four in their previous stops.
Both programs also made the NCAA tournament a season ago with Oklahoma advancing to the second round before falling to Gonzaga and Texas losing in the first round to Abilene-Christian.
Alabama lost to Oklahoma last season in Norman, 66-61, which was a part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
“You look at the pros that have come out of both those programs," Oats said. "They’ve got some of the better pros in the NBA right now when you look at Buddy Hield and Trae Young at Oklahoma, Blake Griffin, and Texas has Kevin Durant. Shoot, I grew up in Wisconsin, I’m a Bucks fan, and PJ Tucker helped us win a championship. There’s been some legitimate pros come out of both those programs, they’ve won a lot of games, there’s a lot of tradition.
“I think it’s gonna make our league a lot tougher. I’m looking forward to playing tough teams, but it’ll definitely upgrade the overall talent in our league and make it an even better basketball league.”