Michigan's Trey Burke: The Big Ten Player of the Year race will 'come down to Sunday'
Is Burke, Michigan's dynamic sophomore point guard, the Big Ten Player of the Year?
He didn't exactly say yes.
But he certainly didn't say no, either.
"That would definitely be a lovely accomplishment, but I feel like, if we're winning -- I think it'll come down to Sunday, honestly," said Burke, who had 26 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds in Michigan's 80-75 win at Purdue on Wednesday. "There's some great players in this league, and I don't want to sound like a guy who says 'I should be player of the year.'
"But I definitely think I should be in consideration. I think it'll just come down to Sunday, honestly."
Burke has now turned in back-to-back MVP-type performances when Michigan's needed him the most.
He's been consistent all season, as consistent as anyone in America actually, but his late-game heroics against Michigan State on Sunday combined with the 22 second-half points he poured in Wednesday night certainly bolster his credentials.
Though some don't believe he needs any resume boosting at this point.
"In my opinion (he's the player of the year)," Michigan freshman Nik Stauskas said. "I think so."
With 26 points Wednesday, Burke is now the Big Ten's leading scorer -- by one point. Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas (573 points) still leads the league in scoring average at 19.8 points per game, but has played one less game than Michigan, as the Buckeyes' season-opener against Marquette was canceled.
Burke, meanwhile, is currently sitting at 574 points (19.1 points per game). Both players have one game left. Michigan hosts Indiana on Sunday, while Ohio State hosts Illinois the same day.
Michigan's sophomore point guard is averaging 24 points and 6.8 assists over his last five games. Assist-wise, Burke has the Big Ten helper title basically locked up -- he remains at 6.9 assists per game on the season.
Thomas, though, isn't seen as Burke's main competition for the Big Ten honor. Indiana's Victor Oladipo is believed to be Burke's biggest competition for both the league and national player of the year honors.
Oladipo averages 13.7 points, 6 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game for Indiana, who has already clinched a share of the league title. Known as arguably the top defender in the conference, the junior forward has been the best player -- on arguably the league's best team -- all season long.
Oladipo is also seen as Burke's main competition, by many, for national player of the year.
Burke and Oladipo will share the same court Sunday, as Michigan attempts to grab its own share of the league crown.
Michigan's last Big Ten Player of the Year was Glen Rice in 1989.
To the winner go the spoils?
We'll see. The award will officially be handed out Monday evening.
"There's a lot of people that have watched him play that have seen the other guys that believe (Burke's the player of the year), and they're very smart people," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "I'm so fortunate to be able to coach him. Not just the points, not just the assists. His attitude, his demeanor, his poise, is something you rarely have.
"Only the best players have it."
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