From Portage Northern.
I was reading Chad Ford's blog yesterday about the Maui Invitational, and found one of his comments to be particularly surprising:
There was a lot of hand-wringing over what Michigan would do at point guard since Darius Morris left for the NBA. Trey Burke is quickly allaying any fears that Wolverine fans may have. After getting off to a shaky first game versus Ferris State, Burke has steadied. On Monday, he was terrific scoring, 14 points and handing out 4 assists. What stood out most was Burke's poise in the face of an athletic and aggressive defense from Memphis. A number of NBA scouts are keeping a close eye on Burke. While he's not an elite draft prospect yet, the potential -- thanks to a great NBA body, quickness and poise -- is there.
I was pretty surprised to hear that NBA scouts are watching Burke, and I was even more surprised to hear that he's got the potential to be a high level prospect. I just assumed that at 6'1" and 175 his body wasn't cut out for the NBA, but I guess I'm clearly wrong. At first I assumed that all the talk on the Rivals board about Burke only being here for 2-3 years was ridiculously premature. I still think it's premature, but to a far lesser degree. If Burke can play like he did against Memphis on a consistent basis (and I don't think that was even close to the best that we'll see out of him), then we've got another PG gem on our hands.
When I watched M v. Memphis, one thing in particular struck me when thinking back to the last couple of seasons. You cannot simply peice together eight or nine 6'7 players who would be nasty in a game of one on one and beat Michigan. The reason for this is no matter how many times you show a MBB player that you are in fact the better baller than he is, it does not take him out of his game. The conglomoration of talent theory gets beat down against JB coached teams. Clemson, Tennesee, Memphis, these teams have talent, but they don't have a theme, they don't have a script that they return to whenever they need something, and they don't have a common belief in any particular aspect of their team. They are 12 different components that don't form one particularly focused unit. Teams with discipline and a consistent theme and a belief in one or two particular aspects of their game, Purdue, Wisconsin, Duke, they are very effective against Michigan, but teams like Memphis, they are fish in a barrel.
I like this team a lot after what I saw today. That team has fight, and they have discipline and a belief in a common theme. I know it's early, but that was a very positive afternoon. If you did not see it, watch a replay, you will like what you see.
The vols are hanging with duke early. Little shocking. tennessee leads 21-16 with a little under 12 left in the first.
Len Elmore put it perfectly. This Michigan team is very patient team. The Wolverines shut down a athletic Memphis team and got theminto major foul trouble. Next on the slate is a rematch of 2011 NCAA Tournament game either against Tennesse/Duke winner. Duke is a major favorite and has never lost in Maui. If they advance, let's give them lost #1 and redeem ourselves from last year.
Tip off is set for 3pm EST on ESPN 2
Just a little reminder for those of us who have to go to work. Hopefully the team comes out firing on all cylinders because they're going need it against a team like Memphis.