Trey Burke Enters Title Game with Added Pressure After Winning Naismith Award

John RozumCorrespondent IApril 8, 2013

Trey Burke is the key factor vs. Louisville.
Trey Burke is the key factor vs. Louisville.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The spotlight brightens on Michigan's Trey Burke for the 2013 NCAA Men's National Championship.

In an article by Nick Baumgardner of, it was noted that Burke received the Naismith Player of the Year award, as well as other honors:

Burke has now won every major national player of the year award this season, earning The Associated Press Player of the Year, the Wooden Award, the Oscar Robertson Trophy and the Naismith Trophy.

He was also named the NABC Division I Player of the Year on Sunday night.

That's quite a bit of recognition for one player, and that gets amplified since the Wolverines are facing Louisville in the title bout.

Without question Burke deserved every award because he leads Michigan in points (18.5), assists (6.8), steals (1.6) and minutes (35.6) per game. And his marksmanship of 45.9 percent from the field and 37.8 percent from beyond the arc is quite impressive.

His impact in a nutshell was the jumper versus Kansas in the Sweet 16.

That level of overall talent only provides the Cardinals with more incentive and motivation to shut him down. Obviously, that is easier said than done, because despite Burke not having his typical marksmanship against Syracuse he still accounted for three steals, five boards and four assists.

Therefore, anticipate the Cardinals emphasizing pressure on Burke for 40 minutes. Along with the full-court press, Louisville needs to attempt to trap him more often than anyone else and challenge every shot.

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports also writes of Burke when facing Louisville:

The Wolverines should be concerned that Burke is just 6-of-24 from the field and 2-of-9 from 3-point range in their past two games. That's what I think, at least, because I can't imagine a scenario under which Michigan beats Louisville late Monday without Burke performing well. And by well, I mean terrifically.

When Burke is defending, the Cardinals must simply drive at him and try to draw fouls. Regardless of the result, coach Rick Pitino forcing the issue on Burke as opposed to avoiding him must occur. Otherwise, Burke will feel less pressure to perform and will then be able to find a rhythm as the contest unfolds.

Although Michigan has other established players capable of picking up the slack, so to speak, isolating Burke takes a chunk out of the Wolverines' production at each end. Plus it gives Louisville an edge regarding transition opportunities.

Mesh that amount of disruption with increased expectations after claiming multiple awards, and Burke has plenty to lose here. After all, winning as a team at any level of any sport will always outweigh individual stature.


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