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Posted on Sun, Feb 5, 2012 : 5:55 p.m.

Trey Burke struggles to find breathing room for a second straight game, and more notes

By Nick Baumgardner


Michigan freshman guard Trey Burke jaws with Michigan State's Keith Appling. Burke finished with 11 points.

Chris Asadian |

EAST LANSING — The secret's out on Trey Burke. He's a pretty good basketball player, and Big Ten teams know it.

The Michigan basketball freshman point guard faced a repeat opponent for the second straight game Sunday at Michigan State, and as was the case at times Wednesday against Indiana, Burke struggled to find room to work.

"They were switching and getting into the gaps, and every time I drove someone was right there," said Burke, who finished with 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting in Michigan's 10-point loss to the Spartans. "They made some adjustments, and they adjusted on the pick and roll.

"Obviously, they watched a lot of film."

Earlier this season in Ann Arbor, Burke scorched the Spartans for 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting in a one-point victory. He abused MSU point guard Keith Appling on the high ball screen all evening long.

On Sunday, it was a different story.

Appling was far more aggressive against Burke, and both Michigan State big men Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne used their length and size to take away any extra room on Burke's pick and roll attempts.

"The two things we thought were the most important (keys) were getting back in transition and covering that ball screen with Burke," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "They're running that a lot more now than their offense. I thought we did a decent job, and it was by committee.

"It was one of those games where I thought they followed the game plan about as good as they could follow it."

Against Indiana earlier in the week, Burke finished with 18 points but went on a nearly 30-minute scoring drought after the Hoosiers bodied him up with larger defenders.

The Spartans kept a guard on Burke, but were extremely physical defensively, refusing to allow him to get two feet in the lane.

Burke's not sneaking up on anyone any longer, and with eight Big Ten regular-season games to go, the freshman point guard says he's aware of that.

"I'm just trying to go with what the defense gives me," Burke said. "(Against MSU), the defense really wasn't giving me the lane like I wanted them to. Every time I tried to penetrate, they were right there.

"But it's something we can fix."

Loudest place yet?


A loud Breslin Center crowd greeted Michigan coach John Beilein and the Wolverines.

Chris Asadian |

The capacity Breslin Center crowd of 14,797 was loud and rowdy from the opening tip. But was it the loudest environment Michigan has played in this season?

"It was loud, but it wasn't the loudest," Burke said. "Indiana was probably the loudest, but the crowd (in East Lansing) was into it, just like they were at Crisler (in January).

"It's just so hard to win on the road, you have to everything (exactly right), and we didn't do the things we should have tonight."

More offensive woes

The 54 points Michigan finished with Sunday was the second-worst scoring output Michigan has had this season, with a 64-49 loss at Ohio State last week remaining as Michigan's worst offensive day.

Michigan shot just 39.6 percent from the floor and went 7-for-22 from 3-point field goal range.

In Big Ten play, the Wolverines are shooting just 42.6 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from behind the 3-point line.

No Brundidge, no Horford

Michigan sophomore forward Jon Horford was dressed and on the Michigan bench Sunday, but did not play due to lingering pain from his right foot injury.

Horford has missed Michigan's previous 15 games, and he continues to be a candidate for a redshirt.

Michigan freshman guard Carlton Brundidge was not with the team Sunday. A Michigan spokesperson said Brundidge remained in Ann Arbor due to an illness.

Odds and ends

Michigan fell to 4-4 against ranked opponents this season. ... Michigan senior captain Zack Novak became the first Michigan player in nine games to foul out. Novak finished with 14 points, and is just six points away from the 1,000-point mark for his career. ... Douglass led Michigan with five assists, marking the fourth time this season he's led the Wolverines in that category. As a team, Michigan finished with 15 assists and 10 turnovers.

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.

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Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 11:19 p.m.

Unfortunately Michigan opponents are finding ways of taking Burke and Hardaway out of the game leaving a leadership vacuum and too often a loss. Michigan can expect this successful strategy to continue and unless any of the remaining team mates can pick up the slack wins will be difficult to achieve. Perhaps Beilein can work some magic and figure out a solution to the coverage problem so Burke and Hardaway can get their shots off. Hopefully, Hardaway's shots will begin to fall again and he can become the scoring machine that he was earlier in the season.