How did the Michigan Wolverines get off to such a hot start against the Florida Gators in Sunday's Elite Eight game?
They had a chip on their shoulders.
You see, before the Wolverines' matchup against the Gators, assistant coach Bacari Alexander spoke to the team about how to beat Florida. Seeing as none of his players had ever hunted an alligator before, Alexander gave them some extra motivation. He placed a single Pringle on the shoulder of each of his starters, and told his players that they now had a "chip on their shoulders."
Corny, yes, but also effective. You can see in the video that freshman guard Nik Stauskas immediately ate the chip. Then, Stauskas went out and hit five three-pointers in the first half against Florida. Coincidence? We think not.
As it turns out, Alexander's pre-game talks are stuff of legend. The former University of Detroit star has become known throughout the program for his colorful and compelling speeches.
"Being a former Globetrotter, you've got to put a little bit of spice on things each and every night," Alexander told the Big Ten Network in a recent video feature on his talks.
Before each game Alexander will surprise the Wolverines with another creative pep talk. He's renowned for his excellent use of props -- Pringles, a sledgehammer, tape and much more.
And judging by Michigan's success this season, especially in the face of adversity, it appears Alexander is doing something right.
"I'll be the first to admit I'm probably one of the corniest guys in the country," Alexander told the Big Ten Network. "Our players know that, and that kind of adds to the anticipation."
For more of Alexander's talks, see the video below: