INDIANAPOLIS — The Bear's first day in Kansas City for the Big12 Tournament was on March 10th, from there they traveled to Indianapolis for the NCAA Tournament. If Baylor makes it to the National Championship game on April 5th that would be a 26-day road trip.
Baylor has two student head managers, Shiv Patel and Nick Muhlenpoh, who travel to away games and are in charge of many things. One of which is packing up gear and equipment.
For a standard road trip, the Bears travel with around 8-10 bags. But for March Madness, that number was doubled.
"We have four sets of jerseys, three practice loops, two pairs of shoes [for each athlete], four game bags that have extra sets of gear for those jerseys," Patel said. "Everything we had in the closet we pretty much took with us cause you never know what will happen or what the guys will need."
The jobs of the managers go far beyond clothing and equipment, they also are in charge of laundry, snacks and drinks.
"Our hotel rooms are pretty much the equipment hub. We have 15-20 cases of water, 10-15 cases of Gatorade and a crate of snacks with everything you could want in there," Patel said.
While the staff is responsible for all things basketball, the athletes have to pack their own street clothes and personal items.
"It was difficult because we didn't know how long we would be," said Davion Mitchell, a Baylor junior guard. "I got to bring an extra bag this time, I brought my suitcase and a duffle bag. We're blessed we can do laundry here."
The Bears are allowed to pack two shoes per athlete, but Patel said some of the guys need options when it comes to footwear.
"He [Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua} is big into the shoe game. He brought, I think, six or seven pairs in his own bag. Five or six are for basketball and the others are just casual."
Patel said this isn't uncommon though, Tchamwa Tchatchoua always packs his own shoes for road trips.
Baylor has five game jerseys that rotate throughout the season, but only four made the trip to Indy (gold, light grey, dark grey, and white). The fifth jersey is green, but was left in Waco for a scpecific reason.
"There's a superstition about it because we lost some games last year," Patel said.
The seniors are the guys who pick which jerseys they want to wear at which game. They decided to wear the green in Baylor's game against Texas.
"Coach Drew was a little scared at first, but when we won he said, 'Wow. We won in green. OK!', but come tournament time he didn't want to test that out," Patel said.
Patel said Coach Drew is all about the white uniforms. If they're winning in white, they're going to roll with those jerseys.
The Bears play their first-round game on Friday against Hartford. Tip-off is set for 2:30 p.m.
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