Monday, February 4, 2013
Why Burke is so tough to contain
By Matt Giles
Only fourteen guards have a higher assist rate than Michigan's Trey Burke. The 6-foot guard keys Michigan's offensive attack, and his ability to either look for his own offense -- e.g. his now-patented step-back jumper, often from three -- or find his teammates has given the Wolverines' the most efficient offense in the Big Ten.
Even though he dished out eight assists against Indiana, the Hoosiers were able to isolate and handcuff Burke's teammates, essentially Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III, and limit UM to just 1.01 points per possession. During the Big Ten teleconference recently, Tom Crean offered some analysis on why Burke is such a difficult player to stop in the halfcourt: "If you let him get by you, he does such a great job of [working through] traffic."
Burke did score 28 points against Indiana, but by frustrating GRIII and Stauskas, Michigan's offense became stagnant (it didn't help that Tim Hardaway Jr. was limited by foul trouble). When Burke is able to keep his dribble alive and find open teammates off the bounce, the Wolverines are much more difficult to stop. There has been a movement among Michigan faithful who insist Robinson and Stauskas are capable of attacking the rim during isolation sets, the underlying reason of this rationale being the frosh aren't simply spot-up players. However, as Indiana demonstrated, both have much more work ahead of them and truly do need, at this point, for Burke to set them up.