This might be one of the most shocking developments in college sports in a season full of shocking developments. An Alabama basketball fan named Michael Wendel was so fired up over Bama’s 68-65 loss to Missouri on Saturday that he called up Lamar Billboards and bought three different billboard messages to be shown around Tuscaloosa.
Those messages: “Protect the paint, Rebound! and Rebounding = Final Four.”
No. 11 Alabama was outrebounded by Missouri 45-43, and it set Wendel off to the point that billboards went up. It was Alabama’s first SEC loss of the season.
Head coach Nate Oats was asked about the billboards Tuesday after Alabama won on the road at South Carolina. His response was 100% on target.
“Rebounding = Final Four” billboard in Tuscaloosa. pic.twitter.com/IiF50WPZrW
— AJ Spurr (@SpurrFM) February 9, 2021
“Shoot, I love the fact that the fans in Tuscaloosa are into basketball and they care enough to pay for billboards,” Oats told the media.
You’re darn right Oats is ecstatic. Let’s be real here, the basketball program hasn’t exactly been on fire the last 20 years. Bama has been to the NCAA Tournament twice since 2006 and hasn’t been to the Sweet 16 since 2004, when it lost in the regional final, the best tournament performance in school history. Before reaching No. 9 in the AP poll this season, Alabama hasn’t been ranked in the AP Top 20 since 2012.
In other words, Oats loves that fans are starting to expect more out of this program. “We’ve got some basketball fans. We love the people being into basketball,” Oats told the Tuscaloosa News.
Complaining on message boards is old news. Buying digital billboards gets much more attention.
Lol. One @AlabamaMBB fan means business! Mr. Michael Wendel was so upset with the Tide's loss to Missouri, he purchased these billboards in Tuscaloosa.
— ChristinaWBRC (@ChristinaWBRC) February 9, 2021