"This is the madness that is March"
Pac-12 Networks women’s basketball analyst Tammy Blackburn may have graduated from San Diego State University 20 years ago, yet her mom expressed some concerns before she went to Seattle for the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament.
“How many games are you going to call this weekend?”
“How are you going to get all of that prep done and remember everything you’re supposed to remember? Don’t you think that five games in three days are a bit much?”
“This is what I love. This is the madness that is March.”
Blackburn had to remind her mom about her busy playing days at SDSU when she had back-to-back games throughout March. Blackburn explained that calling five games in one weekend is similar to coaches and players having to play four games to win the Championship.
Jill Savage, Pac-12 Networks sideline reporter, had to prepare for 10 games in order to provide sideline reports, coaches interviews and more during Pac-12 Networks coverage.
"It may be a bit of a cliché, but my plan is to take it one game at a time,” Savage explained.
Both Blackburn and Savage have been preparing for weeks, if not longer. They both have watched hours of film, interviewed players and coaches and read every possible story on the 12 teams.
“My DVR got a serious work out! I recorded all the games I could, watched as many as I had time for and did a lot of rewinding and replays. Beforehand it was really important to familiarize myself with every team as best I could and know the big storylines,” said Savage.
Preparing for the tournament is different than getting ready during the regular season.
Blackburn explained, “I began preparing for the tournament as soon as the regular season concluded. While the players and coaches might be the same, their strategies are different. The teams are coming in with a different mindset and its incumbent upon us as analysts to find out what their new psyche is.”
Stanford earned their 14th consecutive Conference title, but the Pac-12 Tournament brings a clean slate. Teams play 18 games during the regular season and often get a second chance to avenge a loss. But the tournament is one-and-done, you lose and you go home. Coaches are preparing differently because they have to focus on the first game and can’t get ahead of themselves. And that’s exactly what Pac-12 Network analysts are doing.
“This is like cramming for a final exam in college. I’ve studied, organized and crammed as best I can. But now we’re here 30 minutes before tip and that’s all I can do. Just like a coach would tell you, ‘One game at a time.’ So right now, I’m focused on UCLA-Colorado. Once the cameras are on, it’s go time!” said Blackburn. “It’s a thrill!”
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