Newly crowned Big Ten Player of the Year Trey Burke will now turn his attentions toward the NCAA tournament. The Michigan point guard has put his team in great position to be successful in March with his strong leadership.
Behind the strong play of Burke, the Michigan Wolverines will be headed to their first Final Four since 1993.
Throughout the season, Burke has carried this Michigan team, scoring double digits in every game. His lowest-scoring effort, 11 points in a 93-54 blowout victory against Eastern Michigan, came as he played a season-low 30 minutes.
He has been a model of consistency for the Wolverines and will continue to do so in the tournament. In the tournament, you need to know what you're going to get from your best player. With Burke, you know you're going to get just around his averages of 19.2 points and 6.8 assists per game.
His incredible play has saved Michigan on a number of occasions. In a tight game early in the year against then-ranked No. 18 NC State, Burke scored at will, but also facilitated, totaling 11 assists in a 79-72 victory.
Against Michigan State, his clutch steal helped the Wolverines escape with a 58-57 home victory against their in-state rivals. Whenever they've needed him, he's come up with big plays to lift the team. The NCAA tournament will be a similar story for Michigan.
As a team, the Wolverines still have plenty of issues to resolve. They are a poor free-throw shooting team at 70.6 percent overall. At 78.4 percent, Burke is a player who needs to improve that percentage in the NCAA tournament. Better shooting from the line will help Michigan close out opponents down the stretch of games.
As a team, the Wolverines' downfall could be rebounding. They are atrocious in that department, ranking 158th overall with just 35 rebounds per game. Over the last 10 games, Burke has averaged 3.5 rebounds per game to bring his average up to 3.2 rebounds per game. They will need him to continue rebounding as well as get contributions from other players down low.
While Burke won't have to do it all, he needs to keep his composure and play within himself. Doing so takes pressure off everybody else and allows his teammates to focus on their games, respectively. He's done a great job of that all season.
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