The challenge of odd tip-off times 

November, 14, 2011

John CalipariStreeter Lecka/Getty ImagesJohn Calipari built up the UMass program by agreeing to play games at midnight for TV exposure.
"The team that wakes up the best will win."

I admit to telling my team that, but I believed it, as well. Through the years, my teams played games at all hours, including at midnight, and how I prepared them, regardless what time the games were, was the most important thing. Often, the key to coaching a team is to not overreact to adversity and keep the routine of a game day as normal as possible. If you give players an excuse to complain about the time of a game, they will.

Tuesday is ESPN's fourth annual College Hoops Tip-off Marathon, with games being played over 25 consecutive hours. Drexel and Rider will tip off at 6 a.m. on the East Coast. The coaches of those two teams will have to plan for curfews, wake-up calls, pregame meals and travel to the arena in addition to preparing for their opponents. It's certainly going to be an unusual challenge.