By the time many watching the Kansas-North Carolina State game turn off the light for bed, players will be boarding the bus at Edwards Jones Dome to head back to the hotel.
A meal will await, and players’ heads don’t figure to hit pillows until around 2 a.m.
Hey, television has to get its money’s worth after paying $10.8 billion for the NCAA Tournament. What’s a little inconvenience for the kids?
Besides, Kansas has a plan for the evening/early morning.
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“We have a plan for everything,” said Barry Hinson, the Jayhawks’ director of basketball operations.
Even for games that start at 9:17 p.m., as Friday’s schedule demands.
Hinson and team nutritionists have met to plan meals. Late night games require lighter fare, and with Lent, fish will be on Friday’s menu.
But at least Kansas is used to the drill. The Jayhawks played four Big Monday games that started a few minutes after 8 p.m.
Both NCAA Tournament games in Omaha last week were the latest starts on that bracket.
For nocturnal players during the tournament, the toughest part is waiting to play.
“I don’t think people expected that much down time,” Kansas guard Elijah Johnson said. “Now we know you have to rest all day and get ready to play at night.”
Hinson said if there’s one advantage to Friday’s tip, it’s that the Jayhawks aren’t changing time zones. North Carolina State will be.
“Being on your biological clock makes a difference, even being off just one hour can throw things off,” Hinson said.
Night games are the domain of popular teams and good matchups. Often, late games mean projected good contests.
“The good programs are in prime time,” Hinson said. “We’re not complaining.”