GREENVILLE, S.C. — By the time Justin McKie finally fell asleep last night, it was approaching 4 a.m. Safe to say, it was a really long — but wonderful — night for South Carolina basketball.
The Gamecocks finished off their 93-73 win against Marquette shortly before midnight, departing from Greenville’s Bon Secours Wellness Arena around 1 a.m. and settling in to study Duke film over a postgame meal.
“It was good because we got to get a head start on today with watching film,” McKie said. “Everybody was tired because of the game, but still had adrenaline going from the game. It wasn’t too bad.”
No one was complaining about the late night in the South Carolina locker room, which was filled with relaxed players having fun and playing pranks Saturday afternoon. It might have been hard to fall asleep — multiple players said as much — but not having their day start Saturday until a 10 a.m. breakfast and film session gave plenty of time for rest.
So far, coach Frank Martin said studying Duke has “taken me on an unbelievable ride. Martin and the coaches had an even longer night of film study with the 48-hour turnaround before playing Duke with tipoff scheduled for 8:45 p.m. Sunday night.
Martin was “ecstatic” to see the tip time schedule late, citing a difficult turnaround in 2010 when his Kansas State team played a double-overtime game in the first round then had the earliest game two days later.
“We’ve had time to recompose ourselves,” Martin said. “We’ve got time to prepare all day tomorrow. So preparation is not going to be a problem. We expose our guys to these quick turns during the season on purpose. Who you’re preparing against is what the problem becomes and our guys will be prepared. …
“Our guys have shown the ability to prepare on a quick turn.”
The Gamecocks held a practice Saturday before heading back to the hotel with much more time to rest after a long night Friday.
“I think we got as much rest as we needed to be prepared for tomorrow,” Notice said.