the just released schedules were a flat-out statement that the B10 doesn't believe SOS will matter in playoff selection
Trey Burke's Remarkable Freshman Season
It's no secret that Trey Burke is having a rather special freshman season. I got to wondering how special after reading the following in an annarbor.com article from about a week ago:
[John Beilein] says he's never had a freshman point guard quite like this one.
"I look at (ex-Michigan point guard Darius Morris') year-long stats from his freshman year," Beilein said. "Here's Darius, who was playing with Kobe the other night, and Trey already has more assists in this season than Darius had his whole freshman year.
"And Darius was a heck of a player. It's not normal. I can't recall (a freshman point guard) having this type (of year). It's been very rare that we've had ([to] play a freshman this much). It's rare, but it's been very good."
Burke's Year in Historical Context
So how does Burke's freshman year to date stack up against the freshman seasons of other point guards in Michigan history? To measure this, I borrowed a tool the Wall Street Journal used last year to identify MVP guards (with Darius Morris coming out on top). I like this metric because it's simple, easy to understand, but also quite telling. As the WSJ explained, it calculates "which players are involved in the highest percentage of their team's field goals, either via assists or by making shots themselves." The formula is simple: field goals made (FGM) + assists/team FGM.
Using the Men's Basketball Statistic Archive, here are the results for the freshman years of Michigan's leaders in assists (not all of whom were point guards):
|Player||Year||FGM||Assists||Team FGM||% Team FGM|
So Trey Burke is right there among the leaders for this metric. (Note that two of U-M's top assists men didn't have freshman years at the school: Rickey Greene was a junior college transfer, while Rumeal Robinson was ineligible his freshman season.) For comparison's sake, Darius Morris finished his sophomore season with 201 FGM and 235 assists, which meant he was involved in a remarkable 51.5 percent of the team's 847 FGM.
Burke among Cousy Award Finalists
How does Burke's season compare with that of his contemporaries? Quite well, when you use the same metric to compare this year's finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, which goes to the nation's top point guard.
|Player||School||FGM||Assists||Team FGM||% Team FGM|
|Damian Lillard||Weber St.||130||66||470||41.7%|
|D. J. Cooper||Ohio U.||82||105||469||39.9%|
|Kendall Marshall||North Carolina||41||181||598||37.1%|
|Dee Bost||Mississippi St.||94||84||508||35.0%|
|Caspar Ware||Long Beach St.||102||59||479||33.6%|
Burke comes in 5th place overall and 2nd only to UConn's Shabazz Napier among the finalists from major conferences. This provides some further proof of just how good a season he's having—and how valuable he is to his team. I think it also shows why he should remain among the Cousy finalists when the list is narrowed down from 20 to 10 in early February.