We all know how much time and effort coaches and players put into each battle. They practice. They lift. They study film. And they look for every possible advantage to win the game.

This season, we’re celebrating our love for college basketball by taking you behind the scenes on 3 campuses where game day means much more than the action between the white lines. For this series, we looked beyond the gridiron heroes to see how other stars on campus get ready for tipoff. This is “How I Prep for Game Day.”

Part 1: University of Missouri

Notes, Numbers and Knowledge Drive Missou's Pingeton

By Robin Pingeton, head coach, University of Missouri women's basketball team

As head coach of the Missouri women’s basketball team, my job is to put my players in the best position to succeed. That means I’m always preparing for the next game day.

Preparation starts with my staff. All of my assistants play a role in scouting and breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents. Before tipoff, we know the other team’s personnel just about as well as we know our own. Based on tendencies, for example, we can generally predict if a player is going to go to her right or to her left. We know where she’s most comfortable shooting the 3. And we understand what defensive sets confuse her.

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Part 2: University of Oklahoma

Dancing into the Madness

By Madee McGill, member of OU Pom Squad

I’ve been dancing almost all my life, and I’ve been a fan of the University of Oklahoma Sooners just as long. As a member of the OU Pom Squad, I get to combine those 2 great passions and put my spirit on display every time we take the field or court.

My love for the crimson and cream runs deep. I grew up in the tiny town of Ada, Oklahoma, and my dad took me to Sooner football and basketball games all the time. OU was the only school I applied to because it’s the only place I ever wanted to go. But getting accepted here was just the first step. Making the Pom Squad was a dream come true.

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Part 3: Purdue University

Paint Crew Pours it On for Purdue

By Michael Wood, president, Purdue basketball Paint Crew student section

In Indiana, basketball is king. Like many here, I grew up playing it in driveways, gyms and neighborhood playgrounds. And as long as I can remember, I’ve been a fan of the Purdue Boilermakers men’s basketball team.

My love for Purdue led me to go to school here. In addition to getting a great education at a world-class university, I’ve been able to cheer on my favorite team firsthand for 4 years. This year, I got to do it as president of Purdue’s student section, the Paint Crew. We call it the Paint Crew in honor of the team’s head coach, Matt Painter.

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