Bruce Pearl won’t ever say ‘Roll Tide’ or cheer for Alabama but happy for Nate Oats

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Charles Barkley may be warming up to saying, “Roll Tide,” but you will never hear those words from Bruce Pearl.

Barkley, who has been working as a NCAA Tournament analyst, gave the Alabama cheer after the Tide defeated North Carolina, then Clemson to advance to the Final Four.

The Auburn coach, meanwhile, who was a guest analyst over the weekend for Turner sports, stated you would never hear that from him.

“Am I rooting for the SEC?” Bruce Pearl asked me on The Opening Kickoff on WNSP-FM 105.5 on Monday morning. “Yeah, I’m rooting for the SEC. Am I rooting for Alabama? No. They are my arch-rival. Amy I happy for a ton of my friends who are Bammers? Absolutely.”

Pearl admits there are “maybe” two top 10 major college basketball programs in the state of Alabama, but he’ll never say, “Roll Tide.”

“That would never happen in any environment,” he said.

When reminded Barkley broke down and was “yodeling” on national television, Pearl joked, “They are paying Charles a lot of money to yodel. These interviews with you guys are free.”

It’s hard to argue that point with Pearl, but his respect for Alabama coach Nate Oats and his Crimson Tide is evident.

“I’m glad for coach Oats,” he said. “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.”

Mark Sears hit seven 3-pointers and finished with 23 points in an 89-82 win Clemson on Saturday night to reach the Final Four for the first time. The Tide will face defending champion UConn in Glendale, Arizona. Sears finished with 23 points.

In the game, Alabama made 10 of its 16 3-pointers in the second half to pull away.

Take a listen to the entire Pearl interview.

Pearl also made some of the same points later in the day on “The Dan Patrick Show.”

Mark Heim is a reporter for The Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Heim. He can be heard on “The Opening Kickoff” on WNSP-FM 105.5 FM in Mobile or on the free Sound of Mobile App from 6 to 9 a.m. daily.



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