When I was an assistant at Michigan State, after Selection Sunday, we would spend Sunday night, all day Monday and Tuesday and stay in the office. I would take the first opponent and the other assistants would do a good job preparing for potential second-round opponents. Coach Izzo would take care of practice, media and all the other things that go with playing in the NCAA tournament. What you wanted to do during those first 24 hours is get a great feel for how your opponent played and how they won.
Getting their sets and what they ran was the easy part. Figuring out what makes them tick was hard because you don’t have a great feel for what makes them successful. You call up everyone you can to get scouting reports. For the most part, you don’t call conference opponents, but with years of coaching and using all the staff members, you can get a lot of reports from a lot of different schools. Many times you just have to just cold call schools, and for the most part other coaches are willing to help you.
You watch eight to 10 to 12 games. You don’t want to go too far back because many times teams change as the end of the season approaches. What you will do, however, is look at specific games where your opponent either won or lost by a significant amount and try to analyze why those games were so different than other games that they have played.
As the lead scout for the upcoming opponent, you actually become the head coach for the scout team. You want those guys to duplicate and play as close as possible to your upcoming opponent. As an assistant, that’s the fun part.