Souhan: Gophers couldn't handle Burke no matter his uniform number

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 18, 2013 - 11:59 AM

The singing was as loud as it was incongruous. It echoed down the hallways underneath the court, commanding attention like bad karaoke.

The Michigan basketball team belted out "The Victors" on Thursday night in the visiting locker room at Williams Arena, and then Trey Burke emerged wearing a Wolverines jersey for the last time.

At least, he may never wear this particular jersey again. In the biggest game at The Barn in 35 years, the Gophers were so intent on stopping Michigan's point guard that they ripped holes in two of his uniform tops, his usual No. 3 and the No. 12 he was still wearing after all that singing. The jersey bore a gash the size of a smaller melon.

"This is the first time that's ever happened," he said, poking his fist through the hole. "I was kind of shocked. I heard a 'sssstt' and looked down and it was all ripped."

What the Gophers did to his jerseys, Burke did to their grandest ambitions. The sophomore led fifth-ranked Michigan to a never-in-doubt 83-75 victory over the ninth-ranked Gophers in front of a sellout crowd that, by the end of the night, was reduced to griping about meaningless foul calls.

The Gophers planned. Burke laughed.

The Gophers figured playing their biggest home game in 35 years would give them a decided atmospheric advantage. Burke controlled the flow of the game, and thus the crowd, from the start.

The Gophers planned to slow Burke with their own outstanding point guard, Andre Hollins. Burke had Hollins on the bench with foul trouble before seven minutes had elapsed.

The Gophers planned to use their loss, and second-half comeback, at Indiana as an emotional springboard. Burke frustrated them by shredding their half-court defense and setting up uncontested three-pointers and dunks for his teammates.

The Gophers planned to use their press to come back in the second half. Burke either beat it singlehandedly or cleared out, taking the Gophers' best defender with him.

The result was a loss that left the Gophers with a clear understanding of their place in college basketball. They're a good team in an excellent conference. They're not as good as Michigan. Few teams are.

Burke ranks among the elite, as well. Does he have a chance to become the best player, period? "Definitely," he said. "Just because of my level of confidence and the guys surrounding me. I'm always willing to learn. Sometimes I'm a little defiant, but I'm always willing to learn."

Burke produced 18 points, nine assists, a block and a steal. He could have had a few more assists if his teammates had finished layups. He played 36 minutes, committing just one turnover. He made three of his six three-point attempts.

Although he missed 10 of his 15 shots from the field, Burke dictated the pace of play. His coach said he took charge on the sideline, too.

"Trey Burke was tremendous in the huddle," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "He was saying, 'What would we think if we were down 19 right now? We'd be ready to battle back.' That was Trey Burke.

"He's expanding his game and exploring his game, and it's really important that he do that. At the same time, he's making the right play at the right time."

Modern television technology, from the cameras to the HD sets that bring the game to life in your living room, offers the illusion that watching a broadcast is like watching a game in person. Burke is one of those players you have to see in person to appreciate his quickness and court vision.

Tim Hardaway Jr. led Michigan with 21 points, making seven of eight attempts from the field. Thanks to Burke, he didn't have to work hard for his points.

With Burke, Hardaway and Glenn Robinson III, the Wolverines are much tougher than the tearaway jerseys they wear.

"When my jersey tore and I got the No. 12, Coach said, 'That's John Stockton's number,'" Burke said. "Now, I know I've got a long way to go to get there. But I just wanted to represent it the right way."

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2 p.m. on 1500-AM. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib. •

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Tampa 6 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
LA Clippers 96 FINAL
Chicago 86
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Houston 105
Golden State 106 FINAL
Boston 101
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
Indiana 94
Portland 110 FINAL
Sacramento 99
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Orlando 83
Oklahoma City 108 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Denver 92
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Tampa Bay 3 FINAL
Florida 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Toronto 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Anaheim 3 FINAL
Dallas 1
St. Louis 5 FINAL(SO)
Vancouver 6
Connecticut 81
Quinnipiac 65 FINAL
Manhattan 69
Fairfield 56 FINAL
Niagara 57
Marist 49 FINAL
Rider 59
Iona 60 FINAL
Saint Peters 68
Oregon State 56 FINAL
California 73
South Florida 55 FINAL
Houston 72
Marquette 66 FINAL
Providence 77
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
Siena 57 FINAL
Monmouth 63
Pittsburgh 66 FINAL
Wake Forest 69
Oregon 73 FINAL
Stanford 70
Purdue 61 FINAL
Ohio State 65
Arizona State 81 FINAL
Colorado 87
Washington St 67 FINAL
Georgetown 66 FINAL
Providence 81
Binghamton 50 FINAL
Elon 65 FINAL
Hofstra 58
Virginia Tech 47 FINAL
Boston College 49
(8) Louisville 59 FINAL
Virginia 75
Texas 69 FINAL
West Virginia 76
Creighton 53 FINAL
Villanova 61
Seton Hall 85 FINAL
Butler 76
UNC-Wilmington 76 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 65
(5) Maryland 69 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 48
Saint Josephs 67 FINAL
La Salle 55
Louisiana Tech 53 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 60
Rhode Island 70 FINAL
Massachusetts 78
Richmond 55 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 49
Davidson 46 FINAL
Fordham 54
St Bonaventure 43 FINAL
Duquesne 51
George Mason 45 FINAL
(22) George Washington 80
Indiana 60 FINAL
(20) Rutgers 71
(12) Texas A&M 63 FINAL
LSU 80
Ole Miss 47 FINAL
(11) Miss State 55
Clemson 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 61
Maine 47 FINAL
New Hampshire 61
Vermont 48 FINAL
Albany 76
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Monmouth 48
Saint Peters 47 FINAL
Siena 64
(4) Notre Dame 67 FINAL
NC State 60
Wisconsin 62 FINAL
Penn State 56
Stony Brook 49 FINAL
Hartford 56
Northeastern 47 FINAL
William & Mary 62
St Johns 61 FINAL
Xavier 74
James Madison 74 FINAL
Delaware 71
Towson 45 FINAL
Drexel 50
Illinois State 50 FINAL
Bradley 60
Southern Ill 74 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 70
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Wichita State 66
Minnesota 76 FINAL
(17) Iowa 92
(15) North Carolina 80 FINAL
(16) Duke 81
Alabama 73 FINAL
Auburn 80
(9) Florida State 69 FINAL
Miami-Florida 55
Arkansas 41 FINAL
Missouri 57
Georgia 52 FINAL
Florida 45
Dayton 95 FINAL
Saint Louis 68
Drake 57 FINAL
Missouri State 86
Colorado 46 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 59
(19) Stanford 55 FINAL
Oregon 62
Marquette 82 FINAL
DePaul 99
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 60
Vanderbilt 49 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 79
(2) South Carolina 56 FINAL
(13) Kentucky 67
Utah 41 FINAL
Arizona 64
Ohio State 78 FINAL
Nebraska 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question