Trey Burke

Trey Burke is ready to return home to face Ohio State this time

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With conference play in full effect, the weekend’s schedule is slated with several top-25 matchups, one of those being No. 15 Ohio State hosting No. 2 Michigan.

The game will be a homecoming for Michigan’s sophomore guard and player of the year contender, Trey Burke, who is a native of Columbus, Ohio. Burke hopes to avoid repeating his last appearance in Columbus against the Buckeyes. In a 64-49 loss last season, the freshman guard was held to 13 points and had as many turnovers as assists, five.

Something Burke said Friday was due to taking the rivalry personal, according to’s Nick Baumgardner.

“I think last year, I kind of made it a personal matchup, at times,” said Burke. “I think that was a sign of immaturity. But now that I know what it takes to win, I’m going to try to do that and get the win.”

The 6-foot Burke played better in the rematch in Ann Arbor against the Buckeyes, but had arguably the worst game of his Michigan career in the rubber match in the Big Ten Conference semifinals. Burke shot 1-of-11 for five points to go along with four assists and a career-high eight turnovers.

“I think I just wanted to beat Jared (Sullinger) so bad, and have bragging rights on him,” said Burke, who is friends with the Boston Celtic rookie.

According to Baumgardner, Burker said he only made it personal by returning to his hometown and playing against his friend, Sullinger, and not a way to get back at Ohio State head coach Thad Matta for not recruiting him. However he did tell reporters in a conference call he was nervous last January.

“Last year was new, so it was some jitters,” said Burke Friday.“Now I have a year under my belt in college basketball; I won’t be as nervous.”

Even though Sullinger is no longer in Columbus, or Burke has learned from last’s year’s mistakes, he will still be involved in one of the best point guard battles this season against Ohio State junior, Aaron Craft.

While Craft holds a 2-1 edge on sophomore, Burke has the Wolverines rolling at 16-0, one of two remaining undefeated teams in college basketball. Burke is averaging team-highs in points (18.2) and assists (7.3), while becoming arguably the best floor general in college basketball this season with his ability to run Michigan’s high power offense, whether it be running the break, getting the ball inside for easy buckets or finding shooters out on the perimeter.

Michigan and Ohio State tip 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Knee injury sidelines Illinois forward Leron Black

Josh Hart, Leron Black
Associated Press
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Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.

Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.

Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).

In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.

Coach Hamilton likes mix on Florida State basketball roster

ACC Basketball Tournament: Florida State v North Carolina
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Florida State is the only team in the Atlantic Coast Conference that returns all five of its starters from last season.

For most teams that would be cause for celebration. For coach Leonard Hamilton it means he is hoping the struggles of the past two seasons have been valuable experience.

The Seminoles had their first practice on Wednesday as they are looking to bounce back from a season in which they went 17-16 and didn’t play in a postseason tournament for the first time in 10 years.

“We have five starters returning from a team that won 17 games. We have guys that have been around, who know their shortcomings and can pass on their wisdom to the younger players,” Hamilton said.

With an experienced roster and a highly regarded recruiting class, Hamilton is hoping to lead the Seminoles back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012, which is also the year they won the ACC Tournament.

Jarquez Smith, the leading returning scorer from last season, said the open gyms before the start of practice have been extremely competitive as the incoming recruiting class has tried to assert itself early.

“We’ve been going at each other’s neck and it has gotten very competitive,” Smith said. “Everyone is fighting for their position because the guys coming off the bench are just as athletic as who is on the court.”

The newcomers feature Dwayne Bacon (a McDonald’s All-American selection), Terance Mann (the Gatorade Player of the Year in New Hampshire) and Malik Beasley (the Georgia 1A Player of the Year). There’s also Chris Koumadje, who at 7-foot-4 will be the tallest player in school history, and Benji Bell, who helped lead Northwest Florida State to the JUCO National Title.

“This is a very confident and focused group of inexperienced players,” Hamilton said. “They want to make something special happen but aren’t taking anything for granted.”

Two things that Hamilton will look to work on during preseason practices is defense and figuring out his rotation. The Seminoles suffered from a lack of depth last season but this year he could have a roster that goes 10 deep and allows him to go to more of a full-court pressing style of defense.

Xavier Rahan-Mayes led the team in scoring last season, averaging 14.9 points en route to becoming the first freshman in ACC history to score 30 or more points three times. The one thing he said he noticed in preseason practices were that everyone played off each other’s strengths.

Florida State’s first exhibition game is Nov. 2 against Lynn University before opening the season on Nov. 15 against Nicholls State.

“I think we have a pretty good combination of experience and an influx of new players. Any time you have that type of scenario you appreciate it,” Hamilton said. “It looks like we have it moving in the right direction. We’ve had a good offseason and regrouped.”