It’s not like Iowa State hadn’t faced 1-day preparations previously.
The Cyclones, in fact, were 7-2 this year in games with only 1 day (or less) of practice.
“We played three Big Monday games after Saturdays,” Coach Fred Hoiberg said.
Additionally, two contests in the Diamond Head Classic and a couple outings in the Big 12 Tournament came with short prep time.
But, Sunday’s match-up with North Carolina was different, much different. There was a lot more at stake – advancement in the NCAA Tournament – and Hoiberg was dealing with the loss of Georges Niang to an injury.
It was especially challenging because of the role Niang has as one of the team’s primary facilitators. He frequently runs the offense and accounts for more than 25 points per game as a scorer and passer.
“I’ve got a card with the actions I pull from our pool (of plays) that I think will be successful in each game,” Hoiberg said. “Usually, I’ve got 1 side of my card with plays for DeAndre (Kane) and the other side of the card with plays for Georges. That whole back side of my play sheet, obviously, was thrown out the window.”
Hoiberg reshuffled his deck, re-worked his card and re-focused his game plan.
“Our guys really pick up new actions pretty quickly,” Hoiberg said.
The UNC game certainly wasn’t the typical 1-day prep. Then again, Hoiberg isn’t the typical college head coach.
His adaptability and creativeness was on full display in San Antonio. Now, he’ll have a few extra days to get set for an appearance in Madison Square Garden against UConn.
It will be fun to see what he comes up with next.