The Wolverine

May 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MICHIGAN BASKETBALL all by his seeking out information on the NBA, and added that he spoke with teammates about it, as well as Michigan coaches and his former high school coach, Satch Sullinger. Sullinger, of course, is the father of Jared Sullinger, who left for the NBA after finishing his sophomore season at Ohio State this year. The elder Sull- inger weighed in on Burke with the player's best interest in mind. "Coach Sullinger was honest with me," Burke said. "He told me that he thinks I should stay another year, come back. I could develop more. Jared said the same thing. Jared would have loved to see me leave, but he supported either way I went." Burke noted he has plenty of moti- vation coming back to Crisler Center next year, for reasons that have abso- lutely nothing to do with the NBA. "Losing our first [NCAA Tourna- ines beat both of their fellow Big Ten championship teams at Crisler Center this season. But while the win over the Buckeyes featured an at times brutal defen- sive struggle with neither team generating much offense, Michigan-Michigan State offered a back-and-forth battle to the final second on the clock. Michigan controlled MSU early, leading by as many as 11 before the Spartans came roaring back on a 16-2 run. MSU looked as if it would hang on and steal a road win, but senior Stu Douglass scored the game-winner on a fast-break feed by freshman Trey Burke with 35 seconds remaining. MSU then misfired on mul- tiple tries as the final seconds slipped away. The win gave the Wolverines three straight over the Spartans, following last season's sweep of Tom Izzo's crew. Burke's overall effort (20 points on 8-of-11 shooting, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocked shots) clearly demonstrated he wasn't backing down in a rivalry game. Final Record: 24-10 (Big Ten: 13-5). National Ranking: No. 13, Associated Press, No. 14 ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll Best Win — 60-59 over Michigan State: This is a tough one, since the Wolver- Michigan Basketball Rewind Year In Review ment] game to Ohio was one of the most disappointing times of the year for us," he said. "We have unfinished business. With the recruits coming in, and the returning players, I feel like we have a great chance of winning the national championship and con- quering some of the goals we didn't get to this last year. "Talking it over with my family, praying on it, I just felt like I could develop more. Me coming back to this team next year, we have a great shot of competing for another Big Ten championship and competing for a national championship, which was our goal this last year." up with the biggest spotlight at Michigan's annual team banquet, garnering the Bill Buntin Most Valu- able Player Award. The Wolverines' seniors certainly didn't get left out, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass com- bining to earn honors in 10 separate categories. Burke paced the Wolverines in TREY BURKE CAPTURES MVP HONORS; SENIORS LAUDED True freshman Trey Burke wound Tim Hardaway Jr. and the Wolverines beat Michigan State at home this year, making it three straight wins over the Spartans going back to the prior season. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN any doubt about this one? The Wolverines entered the Big Dance with most feel- ing very good about their chances to at least reach the Sweet 16. What ensued against Ohio's Bobcats proved anything but sweet, the Wolverines trailing nearly the entire game against the Mid-American Conference school. U-M had a tough time defending slick guard D.J. Cooper (21 points and five as- sists), who directed a dribble-drive offense that connected on 51.2 percent (22 of 43) from the floor and 88.2 percent (15 of 17) from the free throw line. Meanwhile, Michigan never seemed to get in sync, trailing by as many as 13 in Worst Loss — 65-60 against Ohio (NCAA Tournament round of 64): Is there the first half. The Wolverines rallied to grab a two-point lead at one juncture, but failed to score in the final four minutes, including a trio of three-point misses by Burke (who led U-M with 16 points and five rebounds) and one by senior Zack Novak. At a time of year when upsets generate huge excitement, the Wolverines suf- scoring this season (14.8 points per game), proving a huge boost at point guard in U-M's drive to a Big Ten championship. Burke also earned the Gary Grant Award for Most Assists (156) at the banquet, conducted April 10 at Crisler Center. Novak and Douglass shared the Thad Garner Leadership Award, splitting a number of other plau- fered through the painful side of that scenario. MVP — Trey Burke: The Big Ten Freshman of the Year (media panel) and second-team All-Big Ten performer helped boost the Wolverines to their first conference championship since 1986. He led the team in scoring (14.8 points per game) and set a U-M freshman record with 156 assists. Burke averaged 36.1 minutes per game, more than anyone on the team, and handled the ball the majority of the time. He shot a solid 34.8 percent from three- point range and 74.4 percent at the free throw line. In short, he stepped into a major void at point guard and delivered a championship impact. — John Borton MAY 2012 THE WOLVERINE 43

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