For an avid basketball fan such as myself, it is very embarrassing to admit that I have not followed NCAA basketball as religiously as I did in the past. These days, I start watching most televised games just before the Sweet 16.
The contenders are your usual suspects, the year-in, year-out competitive schools with excellent bball programs: Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Arizona, Kansas and a few others. I then catch up on the “who’s been doing what” and end up following players from different schools and not teams. (I found out about Jimmer Fredette very late into their tournament and that was something I truly regretted.)
This year, my Jimmer is the starting point guard for the Michigan Wolverines, Trey Burke. I have been hearing about the talent of the sophomore and how he could potentially be the next No. 1 draft pick in the NBA. I watched a few of his games (and video highlights) and I was very impressed with the outside shooting, the ball handling, the “getting-to-where-he-wants-to-go” and the overall court generalship and maturity. “This kid is good”, I thought to myself.
Well, if you have been following the Wolverines this season OR saw the game last night against No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks, you would know what I am talking about.
Michigan beat Kansas 87-85 in overtime after being down by as many as 14 points and trailing by double-digits multiple times in the game. The Jayhawks dominated the match for 35 minutes before Burke’s Wolverines turned up the heat. Burke had 23 points, all in the 2nd half. He made the game-tying 25-footer with 5 seconds left to send it to OT. Most amazing is how he was able to score on long-range shots almost on every Michigan posession down the stretch. He also scored the Wolverines’ first 5 points in the extra period.
With his scoring, playmaking and mental toughness, Burke carried his team when the game seemed a foregone conclusion.
Next up is No. 3 Florida Gators in the Elite 8 and I look forward to seeing how Trey Burke will perform next.