The past couple of games haven’t been the best for star point guard Trey Burke, and he will need to turn that around now that his team is playing for the national championship.
The Michigan Wolverines have been able to win the past two games despite relatively poor performances by Burke.
In the Elite Eight game against the Florida Gators, he scored 15 points but shot 5-for-16 from the field and 1-for-5 from behind the arc. Burke struggled even more against the Orange and their 2-3 zone, shooting only 1-for-8 and scoring seven points.
Even though he’s had a couple of rough games, Burke has proven this tournament that he can take over and be the player that the Wolverines need him to be.
In the Sweet 16 against the No. 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks, he went off for 23 points on 9-for-21 shooting while also dishing out 10 assists.
However, nothing compared to his seriously deep three-pointer to send the Wolverines into overtime, where they ended up winning and advancing.
Burke needs to get back to playing up to the level that he usually does.
During the year, he’s averaged 18.5 points, 6.8 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 45.9 percent. During the tournament, those numbers are a bit different. In the five games so far in the tourney, he’s averaging 13.8 points while shooting only 32.4 percent.
The other numbers for Burke have stayed relatively the same. He has continued to do a good job at distributing the ball and crashing the boards when needed. However, he still needs to break out of this shooting slump.
Luckily for the Wolverines, Mitch McGary has been able to step up during the tournament, but they can’t keep relying on him now that they are a win away from a championship.
The Louisville Cardinals will likely be able to neutralize McGary due to their dominance under the basket with Gorgui Dieng. Dieng is one of the best defenders in the country, and he makes it very difficult to score in the paint. If he contains McGary, that will make Burke even more vital to the win.
The backcourt of Russ Smith and Peyton Siva will look to keep Burke from getting out of this slump.
They do a great job defending opponents as well as forcing turnovers. Burke will need to find ways to get open, either by driving to the basket or getting open away from the ball.
Everyone knows just how good Burke is, and he earned the Wooden Award for a reason.
It will be absolutely critical for the Wolverines that Burke gets out of this shooting slump. As long as he can do that, they’re in pretty good shape to bring home their second ever national title.
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