Here's a look at what Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats said about his team and Friday's opponent, the Mercer Bears from Macon, GA.

Opening Statement

"We have an 18-game winning streak at home. We've done a good job protectng our home court.

"We've got a solid team in Mercer. They're second int the country in turnover rate. We're going to have go do a good job protecting the ball.

"We were much better against South. Some of it was they just missed shots.

"Mercer's got some guys that could make us pay.

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"We're just trying to get better. We've got to get a lot better before we play in Destin."

On defensive improvement

"Rim protection's been a big issue. We challenged the guys.

"The next area's with our switching. How's our communication?

"We're giving up too many 3-point attempts. We've got to do a better job.

"Two of the last three years we were a top three defense. The years we were we had pretty good teams. When your defense isn't there you're more primed for upsets. Our guys understand it.

"They're playing harder. Attention to detail has been better. They're a lot more focused. We've got a good group of kids. Practices have been good."

On setting the playing rotation

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"Right after Mercer we get Ohio State. We have to be better. By that game there's a good chance if it's a tight game, the rotation may have to get tightened. If all 11 guys are playing great, it may not.

"Sear and Estrada are playing well on defense. Grant's playing well. Those three guys have separated themselves.

"By Destin it may be trimmed tighter, but it may not."

On the offense

"We're making three's at a high clip. I don't think that percentage is sustainable.

"The balls moving. We're getting assists. It's been nice. Our offense is top three and that's great. I'd like to get our defense up. We're trying to be great on both sides of the ball.

"We're going to play a lot better defensive teams coming up soon."

Alabama hosts Mercer at 7 p.m. CT Friday and the game can be heard on 95.3 The Bear.

We Deserve a Long John Silver’s in Tuscaloosa

Gallery Credit: Mary K

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