Skip to content

Trey Burke may have knocked Ohio State from the No. 1 seed line

Feb 19, 2012, 1:20 AM EDT

g-spt-120218-michigan-happy-837p

No. 6 Ohio State may have just cost themselves a shot at getting a No. 1 seed come Selection Sunday as they dropped a 56-51 decision to No. 17 Michigan on Saturday night.

With losses in two of their last three games, the Buckeyes now find themselves at 22-5 on the season — all fivefour of those losses have come on the road, by the way — and 10-4 in the Big Ten, tied with the Wolverines a game out of first place. With Kentucky and Syracuse locking up the top two seeds, Ohio State has fallen back to the pack and now sits in a cluster with Michigan State, Kansas, Duke, UNC and Missouri, none of whom have done much of anything to stand out from the crowd.

At this point in the season, I would have a difficult time picking OSU to make the Final Four. The inconsistency of their supporting cast has made it possible for defenses to collapse on Jared Sullinger. True, Deshaun Thomas had 25 points and 13 boards on Saturday, but William Buford once again struggled, finishing 3-12 from the floor for just six points. All told, Ohio State got just 12 points on 5-22 shooting from players not named Thomas or Sullinger.

Simply put, that cannot happen.

But that was also not the biggest story coming out of this game.

Trey Burke was.

Michigan’s freshmen point guard is the biggest reason that the Wolverines are in a position to make a run at the Big Ten’s regular season title. He’s more than filled the void left by Darius Morris, and he may actually be a better player. I’m not talking potential here, either. I mean right now. Its crazy to think about, ain’t it?

What’s so impressive about Burke is his poise. Freshman point guards are supposed to get rattled. They are supposed to make some poor decisions and take some questionable shots and have some untimely turnovers. They are, frankly, supposed to play like freshman.

Burke doesn’t. He’s has a pace about him and a calmness to his game. He doesn’t rush. He not only understands what head coach John Beilein is looking for out of him, he is competent and capable enough to do it. The end of this game is a perfect example of that.

Michigan dominated this basketball game. It wasn’t a blow-out, but Michigan doesn’t necessarily have the horses to blow a team out. What they do is slowly put their opponents to sleep through offensive execution and a junky enough defensive game-plan to make them a pain to prepare for. Ohio State never led in this game, and while Michigan’s lead only reached double-figures for two fleeting moments, the Buckeyes were never able to mount a run. They chipped away slowly and got the lead to three point two in the final two minutes. But on both of those occasions, Burke was able to dribble out the clock — not an easy thing to do against an on-ball defender as good as Aaron Craft — and then beat Craft off the bounce for a bucket.

Burke finished the game with 17 points and five assists, making the game’s two defining plays down the stretch.

That had to feel great for him.

Burke is a native of Columbus, OH. He played with Sullinger — and for Sullinger’s dad — growing up. He and the biggest of the Buckeyes are best friends.

And whether it is a game of Fifa or a late-February rivalry game between two Big Ten contenders, there is nothing that feels as good as owning bragging rights over your best friend.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

Latest Posts
  1. St. John’s lands commitment from Missouri State fifth-year transfer

    Apr 21, 2015, 10:07 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    St. John’s has added some much-needed backcourt depth.

  2. Two will transfer out of BYU

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:45 PM EDT

    Saint Marys Cal BYU Basketball AP

    BYU is losing two reserve players to transfer.

  3. Iowa lands a strong-shooting junior college forward

    Apr 20, 2015, 9:45 PM EDT

    Fran McCaffery AP

    Iowa landed a junior college forward to close out a six-man class.

  4. Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg up and moving after heart surgery (VIDEO)

    Apr 20, 2015, 8:45 PM EDT

    (AP) AP

    Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg is up and on his feet after heart surgery.

  5. North Carolina’s Marcus Paige undergoes arthroscopic ankle surgery

    Apr 20, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    North Carolina star point guard Marcus Paige had successful surgery

  6. All-MAC guard Shannon Evans to transfer from Buffalo; is athletics director Danny White at fault?

    Apr 20, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Shannon Evans is leaving Buffalo. Is athletic director Danny White the reason why?

  7. Rhode Island lands perimeter help in graduate transfer from Towson

    Apr 20, 2015, 5:45 PM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Rhode Island added some immediate help shooting the ball.

  8. South Florida lands a graduate transfer from Gonzaga

    Apr 20, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    Angel Nunez AP

    South Florida continues to hit the transfer market hard.

  9. Reports: Long Beach State lands talented back court transfer

    Apr 20, 2015, 3:17 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Evan Payne averaged 18.0 points for LMU last season.

  10. Memphis lands a commitment from talented PG transfer

    Apr 20, 2015, 2:47 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Tarrant will step into the starting point guard role for Memphis.

  11. Kyle Wiltjer to return to Gonzaga for his senior season

    Apr 20, 2015, 2:38 PM EDT

    Kyle Wiltjer (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Wiltjer will likely be a preseason all-american.

  12. Greek Freak 2.0? A first look at Kostas Antetokounmpo (VIDEO)

    Apr 20, 2015, 1:58 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The younger Greek Freak is hitting the AAU circuit this summer.

  13. Illegal fishing, driving infraction lead to arrest for Mississippi State player

    Apr 20, 2015, 12:52 PM EDT

    Mississippi State athletics Mississippi State athletics

    This is the leader in the clubhouse for the weirdest offseason story.

  14. LSU lands top 50 Class of 2015 guard Brandon Sampson

    Apr 20, 2015, 11:49 AM EDT

    (Under Armour) (Under Armour)

    Sampson gives LSU one of the best recruiting classes in the country.

  15. 2015 College Basketball Updated Early Entry List

    Apr 20, 2015, 9:05 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Who’s going pro? Who’s returning to school? Who are we still waiting to hear from?

  16. Five-star forward sets date for college announcement

    Apr 19, 2015, 11:15 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Brandon Ingram’s down to six schools: North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and NC State.

  17. Central Michigan lands former Youngstown State guard

    Apr 19, 2015, 10:05 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Marcus Keene averaged 15.6 ppg last season, and with Chris Fowler entering his senior season this is a good pickup for the Chippewas.