Bruce Pearl happy for Nate Oats, Mark Sears but not for Alabama as a whole after Final Four berth

Clemson v Alabama
Clemson v Alabama / Harry How/GettyImages

Bruce Pearl is happy for Nate Oats, Mark Sears, and certain Bammers he knows, but he isn't cheering for the Alabama basketball program overall after the Crimson Tide clinched their first-ever Final Four berth on March 30 after an 89-82 Elite Eight victory over Clemson.

“Am I rooting for the SEC?” Pearl said during an April 1 appearance on The Opening Kickoff on WNSP-FM 105.5 (h/t “Yeah, I’m rooting for the SEC. Am I rooting for Alabama? No. They are my arch-rival. Am I happy for a ton of my friends who are Bammers? Absolutely. I’m glad for Coach Oats. That he get there. I know what that means. You work your whole life to get there, and there are so many great coaches that have never gotten a chance to coach in a Final Four. It’s a tremendous separator. ...

“I’m happy for him. I’m happy for the Alabama program. I’m happy for Mark Sears, who I have great respect for. He’s developed into one of the best players in the history of Alabama basketball. Mark Sears should have a banner at Coleman (Coliseum) after what he’s done with this team and is doing during his career.”

Bruce Pearl showing class but not going too far with Alabama praise

Pearl's Tigers bowed out in the Round of 64, so he doesn't have much room to be throwing daggers; even after Auburn ran through the SEC Tournament field with ease. Congratulating the Tide in this context is in good taste.

But credit Pearl for not going too far with his SEC pride and cheering for his arch-nemesis. That'd be practically the only way to get out of the good graces he's in after resurrecting a program that had been suffering before he arrived.

No need to "Roll Tide." Wish them well but hope that they don't win their Final Four matchup and end up going further than Auburn ever went in the Big Dance.