Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 3/14/12
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Trey Burke isn't only a freshman point guard leading a team into the NCAA Tournament. He's also coming off one of the worst games of his brief college career. That might worry a lot of coaches and teams, but John Beilein and the Michigan Wolverines aren't concerned. Burke went 1-11 with eight turnovers in Michigan's Big Ten Tournament lopsided loss to Ohio State, and missed all seven of his 3-point attempts. "Obviously, Trey had a rough game against Ohio, but you have to put that into context," Beilein said. "The night before, he had played 45 minutes and been the best point guard in the country." Indeed, Burke has been the unquestioned star of Michigan's overtime win over Minnesota in the quarterfinals. He scored 30 points on 11-14 shooting while playing every second of the game, coming off a regular season where he was named the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year. When the season started, point guard was a significant concern for most followers of the Michigan program. Darius Morris had left for the NBA after his sophomore year, meaning that a true freshman from Columbus was going to have to lead the offense. That didn't turn out to be a problem. Burke led the team in scoring, assists, minutes played, steals and, incredibly, blocked shots. Within the first month of the season, his teammates had realized that he wasn't a typical freshman. "I'm not going to tell him anything about the NCAA tournament environment," senior captain Zack Novak said. "The last time I tried to tell him anything about the atmosphere was when we were in Maui, and he handled that fine. "There's just not any question about him any more. He had a off-day against Ohio State, but so did the rest of the team. He'll bounce back. I don't doubt that at all." Burke didn't shy away from what happened against the Buckeyes, saying that Michigan had been "exposed" in the game, but his teammates weren't letting him take that burden on himself. "It was really emotional, because we came in as co-Big Ten champions and we wanted to prove we deserved it, but we were never close at all," Stu Douglass said. "We all need to learn from that, and realize what it takes to compete with top teams during a tournament situation." Douglass agreed with Novak that there wasn't any reason to warn Burke about the Big Dance. "I'm not going to say anything to him," he said. "I try to be a leader, and if something comes up during a game, I'll definitely say something. But he doesn't need anything right now. We've all seen what he can do and what he can handle this year. He's going to be fine." When the brackets were announced, Burke was the one person in the Michigan film room that was hoping to get drawn to the Columbus pod, but he realized afterward that Nashville was probably a better location. "It would have been a dream to play in Columbus in front of my friends and family, but it might have been a little distracting," he said. "This way, I'll just be focused." So, with Ohio coming up on Friday, Burke is ready, and everyone around him is confident that, whatever happens to the Wolverines will be because of Burke's talent, not his inexperience. "He's had an incredible freshman year - he's had a couple games where he played like a freshman, but he's such a good player," Beilein said. "He understands the ebbs and flows of his performances, and he knows how to adjust. It's all good."
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