Sunday March 31st, 2013

Michigan's players had literal chips on their shoulders before Sunday's game. (Greg Nelson/SI) Michigan's players had literal chips on their shoulders before Sunday's game. (Greg Nelson/SI)

ARLINGTON, Texas — If it seemed Michigan played with a chip on its collective shoulder in its 79-59 Elite Eight win against Florida, that might have had something to do with the starting lineup's pregame snack.

Before the Wolverines took the court, assistant coach Bacari Alexander laid exactly one Pringle on the shoulder of each starter. He then told the Wolverines they needed to play with proverbial carbohydrate bombs on their labrums. "Then I grabbed a chip," Alexander said, "and I said, 'Let’s eat.'"

The ploy must have worked. Michigan jumped to a 23-5 lead before the Gators could catch their breath. Any coaches wishing to replicate this motivational gambit should heed the advice of Alexander before visiting the grocery store. "It was regular," Alexander said. "The cheese ones would have stained their jerseys." Cheese powder would have stained Michigan’s highlighter-yellow -- I mean, highlighter-maize -- jerseys? Abosultely, Alexander insisted. "It ain’t easy being cheesy," he said.

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