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Luke Winn
November 12, 2012
Pick-and-rolls or post feeds? The versatile Wolverines can have both
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November 12, 2012

6 Michigan

Pick-and-rolls or post feeds? The versatile Wolverines can have both

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PG Trey Burke 6'0" Soph. 14.8 ppg 4.6 apg
SG Matt Vogrich 6'4" Sr. 2.3 ppg 1.3 rpg
SF Tim Hardaway Jr. 6'6" Jr. 14.6 ppg 2.1 apg
SF Glenn Robinson III* 6'6" Fr. 21.7 ppg 7.5 rpg
PF Jordan Morgan 6'8" Jr. 7.3 ppg 5.6 rpg
PF Mitch McGary* 6'10" Fr. 12.0 ppg 10.0 rpg
SG Nik Stauskas* 6'6" Fr. 20.0 ppg 5.0 apg

John Beilein has a tactical mystery to solve. Should his Wolverines play small, with four shooters on the perimeter, as his teams have done throughout his five seasons in Ann Arbor? Or should he alter his three-point-dependent scheme to accommodate two quality posts (6'10", four-star freshman Mitch McGary and 6'8" junior Jordan Morgan)? Beilein has the luxury of trying both strategies, since he has a floor general who's flexible enough to run any offense.

Trey Burke arrived at Michigan last season as a buzzless three-star prospect—and proceeded to lead the Wolverines to a share of their first Big Ten title since 1986. "He was a point guard in training," says Beilein, "so we tried to get him the ball in space and just let him play." Burke averaged 14.8 points in a stripped-down version of Beilein's spread, in which just 2.6% of the team's possessions were post-ups and 34.6% of Burke's possessions were pick-and-rolls, according to Synergy Sports Technology.

Even though Burke was Ohio's Mr. Basketball as a high school senior, he was largely unheralded as a recruit because of what he did for his first three years at Northland High in Columbus: serve as Jared Sullinger's sidekick. Before his conversion to pick-and-roll star, Burke was a post-feeder for a future Ohio State All-America and the Celtics' first-round pick. "My job," Burke says, "was to get him the ball and let him get buckets."

After flirting with the NBA draft—he was projected to be a second-round pick—Burke is poised for an All-America season of his own. He knows that defenses won't be able to key on him as much—junior guard Tim Hardaway Jr. and freshman forwards McGary and Glenn Robinson III give Michigan three other offensive options. He also won't have to play 36.1 minutes per game, thanks to freshman Spike Albrecht. Burke doesn't know what the offense will look like in March; it will continuously evolve. Fortunately for his team, he is a point guard who is prepared for anything.

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