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Alabama’s Nate Oats calls out Mike Krzyzewski over COVID-19 concerns

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Alabama’s Nate Oats calls out Mike Krzyzewski over COVID-19 concerns 1

Other coaches were undoubtedly thinking it and Nate Oats had the guts to say it.

He called out Mike Krzyzewski. 

“Let me ask you a question,” the Alabama coach told reporters on Thursday. “Do you think Coach K would be saying that if he hadn’t lost those two non-conference games at home?”

Coach K made headlines following his team’s one-sided loss to Illinois in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, questioning whether a college basketball season should be played during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would just like for the safety, the mental and physical health of players and staff to assess where we’re at,” Krzyzewski said. “I know somebody will take what I’m saying tonight, and make it like I’m making excuses. I don’t make excuses. We need to get a lot better. But for the good of the game, and the good of the safety and mental and physical health of our players and staff and whatever, we need to constantly look at this thing. And I think that’s, I think that’s a smart thing to do.”

Oats, 46, in his second season at Alabama, led Buffalo to the NCAA Tournament three times in four seasons 

Krzyzewski, of course, said in August the NCAA needed to have a tournament this year for financial reasons after missing out on last year.

“We can’t have it where two years in a row you don’t have the NCAA tournament,” he said then.

That was before his program had suffered two home non-conference losses in the same season for the first time since the 1982-83 campaign. The Blue Devils (2-2) also lost to Michigan State.

Krzyzewski does have a point. The virus has created chaos in the sport, with most teams not having fans and some of the biggest programs — from Virginia to Louisville to Gonzaga — having to pause their seasons due to the virus.

“People are saying the next six weeks are going to be the worst,” Krzyzewski said. “To me, it’s already pretty bad. On the other side of it, there are these vaccines that are coming out. By the end of the month, 20 million vaccine shots will be given. By the end of January or in February, another 100 million. Should we not reassess that? See just what would be best?”

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