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Alabama's Oats finishes fourth in AP Coach of the Year voting

The Associated Press named Texas Tech’s Chris Beard men’s college basketball coach of the year on Thursday. Beard’s Red Raiders will compete in the Final Four this weekend in Minneapolis.

But new Alabama head coach Nate Oats also received votes for coach of the year.

Oats finished fourth in this year’s voting, which was submitted before the NCAA Tournament, by receiving five votes. The former Buffalo coach finished behind Beard (20), Houston’s Kelvin Sampson (13) and Wofford’s Mike Young (6) and ahead of Tennessee’s Rick Barnes (4).

Before taking the Crimson Tide job, Oats spent the last four seasons at Buffalo. This past year, Oats guided the Bulls to a 32-4 overall record and a 16-2 mark in conference play, leading the program to its second consecutive Mid-American Conference regular season and tournament championships. Buffalo was ranked for 20 weeks in the AP top 25 throughout the 2019 season, which marked the first time in school history the program had earned a national ranking.

Buffalo went on to climb as high as No. 14 in the nation, which was the highest ranking by any MAC team in the past 40 years. The 32 victories not only set a program record but was the most wins ever by any MAC program. Oats was also named the 2019 MAC Coach of the Year.

“If you watched Buffalo play, we were No. 1 in the country in transition points per game this year. We’re going to get up and down,” Oats said in his introductory press conference. “The way we play, we have a blue-collar mentality, we give out this hard hat award every game. We value blue collar play as the people of Alabama. We think taking charges, diving on the floor for loose balls, we chart that stuff. We value it. We want deflections. We value guys that get in the ball, pressure it. Our defense is going to be in your face, they’re going to play hard.

“Then we’re going to get up and down the floor. We were fourth in scoring in the country last year, I believe, and fifth this year. No. 1 in the number of 80-point games last year with Villanova at No. 2. We put some numbers up on the offensive end, but it’s all based on playing hard on the defensive end. That’s what we’ve built. We’re going to establish it in practice every day and that’s how you get it.” 

AP COACH OF THE YEAR VOTING BREAKDOWN

Chris Beard, Texas Tech -- 20

Kelvin Sampson, Houston -- 13

Mike Young, Wofford -- 6

Nate Oats, Buffalo -- 5

Rick Barnes, Tennessee -- 4

Tony Bennett, Virginia -- 3

Mark Few, Gonzaga -- 3

Tom Izzo, Michigan State -- 2

Matt Painter, Purdue -- 2

Roy Williams, North Carolina -- 2

John Beilein, Michigan -- 1

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke -- 1

Matt Langel, Colgate -- 1

Eric Musselman, Nevada -- 1

Contact Charlie Potter by 247Sports' personal messaging or on Twitter (@Charlie_Potter).

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