February 4, 2013
Borton's Blog: Shooter's Roll
Trey Burke remains one of the best shooting point guards in the Big Ten, but conference play reveals cracks in everyone's game. The delicate balance between creating for others and firing away came into view again in Assembly Hall.
Michigan needs Burke to score, without a doubt. His 18.2 average leads the team, and he's tallying points at an even higher clip (18.9) in conference games. But when does enough of a good thing become too much?
That's the balance Burke always needs to strike, according to Michigan head coach John Beilein.
"We actually talk about it, and he understands that while I want him to shoot the ball, there are some shots that he himself would like to have back," Beilein said. "So we discuss it. It's all part of the process.
"He took a large number of shots [at Indiana], probably the largest he's ever taken. He understands that shot selection is an important part of it. He'll be the first one to say, 'Coach, I'm trying, and I'll do a better job next time.'"
At Indiana, Burke let fly no less than 24 times in accumulating 25 points. The 9-for-24 effort (4-for-12 from three-point range) contrasted with, say, Tim Hardaway, Jr.'s 8-for-16 efficiency in Bloomington, and serves as a reminder of the delicate balance for Michigan's triggerman.
Burke is shooting a sterling 48.7 percent on the season, 42.8 percent in league games and 38.9 percent in Michigan's last five. He's ranged from highly efficient (6-for-11 in the home blowout over Northwestern) to pleasantly persistent (7-for-19 at Illinois, 5-for-15 at Minnesota, 4-for-13 at Ohio State).
The sophomore point guard is simply trying to make plays for his team, he insists, and the competitor in him is trying to react to and combat what he sees.
"It's basically whatever the moment calls for," Burke said. " Every game has its different flavor.
"If the team is hugging the rails, denying our players the ball, trying to play two-on-two in the middle, which is pretty much what Indiana tried to do, we have to find ways to get into the paint and get the bigs going, if they're denying the wings. Indiana did a good job with that.
"We'll watch film on Ohio State today, the way they played us in Columbus, and try to make adjustments for what we did wrong."
Certainly, Burke can do with the ball what few others can. Knowing when, where and how much in each situation involves an ongoing process.
"That's the sweet spot," Beilein pointed out. "He does get points that probably only Timmy can create right now for himself. Probably Nik [Stauskas] and Glenn [Robinson] can get some things, but he's really good at getting separation off the dribble.
"He understands it - sometimes the less shots, the more points. He understands that."
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