Ok, here's the situation: You're the head coach of the Maryland men's basketball team. Your team is up by, say, 11 points. You're coming off a horrific defeat on the road to a program that used to consider you one of its top rivals. Your season is on the brink of disaster.
What do you tell your players at halftime?
After Tuesday night's loss to Boston College, Gary Williams and several players said that for some reason the team lost its mojo (my word, not theirs) during the intermission. None of them, however, could explain why.
"You can't tell," Williams said. "You don't see 'em change or anything like that. They come in there at halftime just like any other team I've coached. We go out and we just seem to get a little tentative defensively, and they make some shots, and we lose some confidence. I don't know if it's cause Dave Neal's our only senior or what the deal is, but we have to have some people step up and just put a stop to it."
"We come out in the first half and we give it our all," freshman guard Sean Mosley said. "And in the second half we just don't bring the same intensity. It's something that we've got to work on."
And why is that?
"I really couldn't even tell you, but I think it's just a thing we got to work on," Mosley said. "We've just got to work harder."
"There's just something that happens at halftime," senior forward Dave Neal said. "We just come out flat. We've been showing that, and it's really weird for us."
Maryland fumbled away a double-digit lead and eventually lost by nine.
See? There's something mysterious going on during halftime in the home locker room at Comcast Center.
And it's your job to fix it. I want to know how you all would have approached that same halftime period if you were in Williams's shoes. What would you have said? What would you have done?
Perhaps most importantly, do you think any change in approach would have made a difference?
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