Exponent Time

Submitted by Brian on March 29th, 2013 at 3:31 PM


Bryan Fuller

Trey Burke doesn't have to prove anything to anyone anymore. If he doesn't win national player of the year, it'll be an upset. NBA types are scrambling over each other to draft him in the top ten despite his lack of stature. He picked up the baton left by Darius Morris and jammed Michigan forward into its first Sweet 16 in almost 20 years. (Turnovers be damned!) As a freshman he was the best player on a team that broke an even longer Big Ten title drought. Trey Burke must find internal motivation these days; haterz are thin on the ground.

If Michigan goes out against shot-swatting Jeff Withey and his band of athletic freaks, oh well. Vegas has figured it and pegs the Jayhawks as favorites; Kenpom has Michigan by one, basically a pick 'em. If Michigan's run ends here that won't reflect poorly on Burke. Like Denard Robinson, Burke's done all he can do in this town.

Unlike Denard, all of his limbs are still working, and if things break right mosaic artists in southeast Michigan are going to be living large for a while. With the potential for a tourney upset past, Burke's at the same point Shawn Hunwick was last year when his .932 save percentage saw Michigan into the hockey tourney as a top seed. The options now are: great or the greatest.

As always, merely great is the heavy favorite. The gauntlet Michigan has to run reads something like Kansas-Florida-Syracuse-Louisville. We are entering the Super Meat Boy Warp Zone portion of the tourney.

Michigan, unfortunately, cannot respawn.

I don't think these things weigh on Burke. When you can remember the one blistering sequence at Ohio State where Burke was rattled and a detriment—remember the gravity-shift terror of the new universe you found yourself in—that says more about his base state of being than any step-back jumper you care to name. There's a tag on this here blog about it. Trey Burke is more of an emoticon than any other point guard I've experienced, and it's this one:


He does things that make pinwheels explode from Mitch McGary's head with the laconic coolness of Death harvesting a plague-ridden city. Also my head, Mitch McGary being a low bar to clear in the realm of cranial pinwheel explosions*. It wouldn't be a huge surprise if he turned out to be a robot.

He's got a tough job tonight. Kansas runs out a pile of swarming, long, experienced athletes. If you get past the first guy, this guy lurks:


Even though Burke should get 20 minutes against 5'11" Naadir Tharpe nothing's coming easy. Michigan needs Trey Burke to make it look like it, though, to glide to that spot on the baseline he takes his leaner from, to toss his hot-potato floater over Withey's outstretched fingers, to pull up at the top of the key and fire in a three, to push any sliver of a fast break.

One game doesn't define a player, especially one who'll be running an NBA team for the next decade. Burke's just adding exclamation points after his name at this juncture. We're about to hit the exponential part of the curve, though.

x = games into tourney; y = burke apotheosis points

My preferred Burke exclamation point count comes with scientific notation. Screw Mudville, let's do this.

*[OH MY GOD HUMMUS IS 50 CENTS OFF /does cartwheels into banana display]



March 29th, 2013 at 3:59 PM ^

When I see that picture of Withey, I can't help think that is his mean face right before he started crying. Like a kid who is trying to act tough then just breaks down in tears.

Tears inflicted by Trey Burke.


March 29th, 2013 at 4:00 PM ^

I'm feeling the victory tonight too. Trey is going to show up big. Go Blue!



March 29th, 2013 at 4:12 PM ^

That will be my epitaph. Excellent, excellent, dusty-room-making work as always, Brian. I hadn't had a chance to read your Iowa wrap-up, and just seeing the photo of Denard running into the tunnel... well, it's... it's very moist here in DC.


Seriously, I feel weirdly blessed to be experiencing two very likable teams (basketball and football) over the past 2-3 years. From Denard to Zach Novak to Mike Martin to Stu Douglass to Junior Hemingway's impassioned Sugar Bowl acceptance speech to Mitch "Big Puppy or, against VCU, The Wolf" McGary, Burke, Stauskas, Devin Gardner, Funchess, and Taylor Lewan - it's a good time to be a Michigan fan. Really. 


That said, I'll be a total wreck tonight. 


March 29th, 2013 at 4:21 PM ^

On a plane in chicago right now heading him to Cleveland. Should walk in my front door about 15 minutes to tip off-enough time for a fast shower, two shots of tequila and a bells two hearted ale.

FYI- watched the OSU game last night in Seattle at a sports bar hosting the Seattle Buckeyes club and about 200 of their members it seems. So I can't even get away from those fuckers in Washington state for Gods sake.