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 MLiv.com’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 NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: