The challenge of odd tip-off times
"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.
Twenty years ago, in an effort to generate interest in his basketball program, then UMass basketball coach John Calipari badgered ESPN into televising games from the Amherst campus. ESPN agreed, but only if Calipari's team was willing to play at midnight. He consented, turning the atmosphere at the Friday night games on a great college campus into a carnival-like event. The exposure, along with a very good team, put the Minutemen on the national map.
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