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Oats and Pearl named to Naismith watch list for Coach of the Year

Nate Oats and Bruce Pearl have put the Yellowhammer State at the forefront of the conversation when it comes to SEC basketball over the last few years.

Either the Tide or Tigers have won the SEC regular season title each of the last three seasons, with both teams pushing to make that four in a row this year.

Oats and Pearl have both received the distinguished honor of being placed on the Naismith Awards’ late season Coach of the Year watch list which has just 15 total coaches on it.

Currently, Alabama remains in first place in the SEC in an attempt to defend its title sitting at 11-2 in the conference. Auburn, meanwhile, is just two games back at 9-4 with five games remaining.

Both teams have made huge strides throughout the season. On one hand, Alabama is overwhelming defensive opponents early on as indicated by what is statistically the highest ranked offense in the nation.

Conversely, Auburn boasts the No. 4 raked defense in the country and have been consistently steady all season long.

Both teams will be highly seeded in both the SEC and NCAA Tournaments and both are hopeful for a deep run in March.

Lamont Paris of South Carolina is the other SEC coach on this list and has his Gamecocks at 9-4 as well in just his second season in Columbia.

Michael Brauner is a Senior Sports Analyst and Contributing Writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @MBraunerWNSP

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