Michigan's head coach Beilein talks with guard Burke during a break in game action during their NCAA college basketball game against Indiana in Ann Arbor

Trey Burke named B1G Player of the Year, but he’ll be defined by this month


In the least surprising news of the day, Michigan guard Trey Burke was named Big Ten Player of the Year by the coaches and media.

He’s joined on the first team all-Big Ten team by teammate Tim Hardaway, Jr., Indiana’s Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo and Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas. Burke and Oladipo were unanimous coaches and media selections, with Zeller and Thomas earning that distinction on the media list.

The 6-foot, 190-pound Burke was the easy choice for all involved, pacing the Wolverines this season in all facets. The Columbus, Ohio native averaged 19.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game. He did it all and made the plays that were necessary.

Now, let’s see what he can do.

Burke has earned and lived up to every bit of hype that’s been uttered about him. But we all know that regular season awards, while nice, aren’t given with the postseason in mind. That’s where these awards are validated.

It’s a safe bet that Burke comes out for the NBA Draft in June, and he’ll more than likely be a first round pick. He’ll have a ton of pressure on him coming into a franchise at that point. But how high he’s drafted could be helped by a solid run in the Big Ten tournament.

It’d be a nice touch to make a run through the NCAA Tournament.

It’s really the perfect situation for Burke to do it. The loss to Indiana at home on Sunday made them a five seed in the B1G tourney. That’ll mean a four-games-in-four-days run for the crown. A trip to the finals might also be necessary to secure a two seed in the Big Dance.

As good as Burke is, he might need to show out to make that happen.

The Wolverines have the tools around Burke, but he’s the leader. The team follows him.

And if Burke does what he’s been doing all season, he could go down as not just one of the best in Michigan history, but one of the best guards in college basketball history.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

POSTERIZED: Monmouth bench mob goes insane after huge dunk

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Monmouth has arguably been the most entertaining team in college basketball through the season’s first three weeks.

Let’s start with the obvious: They’re a mid-major outfit with a 5-foot-8 point guard that headlines a talented back court, one good enough to have notched upsets at UCLA and, this week, over No. 17 Notre Dame and USC at the Advocare Invitational in Orlando.

It’s pretty incredible, to be honest. They’ve managed to amass one of college basketball’s best resume despite being a MAAC program with a grand total of four NCAA appearances in their luxurious history.

But what makes this team so much fun isn’t just that they can’t seem to stop beating high-major competition, it’s that, in the process, their bench mob has become one of college basketball’s best.

Want some proof? Watch what happens after this Deon Jones poster dunk:

And here’s the wild part: that wasn’t even close to the best thing the bench did this week.

This was:


But there’s so much more.

Like, for example, the three arrows:

The touchdown pass:

The bench poster:

The heart attack:

They … caught a fish?

And, finally, the ‘OH SHHHHHHHHHHHH’:

Wichita State’s 0-3 week makes chances for at-large bid small

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

We’ve reached the nightmare scenario for Wichita State.

Having entered the season as the overwhelming favorite in the Missouri Valley, a top 15 team and a legitimate threat to reach a Final Four, after two weeks, the Shockers are in serious danger of missing out on the NCAA tournament altogether.

That’s not hyperbole, either.

Wichita State fell to 2-4 on the year after getting mollywhopped by Iowa in the 7th-place game of the Advocare Invitational. They ended up in the 7th-place game because they lost to USC and Alabama in the opening two rounds. The Hawkeyes look like the might be able to eke out an at-large berth if things fall the right way for them, but USC and Alabama are projected to finish at or near the bottom of their respective conferences. Even Iowa would do well to finish in the top half of the Big Ten.

Individually, none of those three losses are particularly terrible, and that’s before you factor in that all-american point guard Fred VanVleet sat out the trip to Orlando with a bad hamstring. They were also without back up point guard Landry Shamet in the tournament and it’s unknown when they’ll actually get Anton Grady back to full stretch. That matters to the NCAA tournament selection committee. They’ll factor it in when they determine where the Shockers will be seeded, or if they will even get an invite.

But throw in the loss at Tulsa from the first week of the season, and the Shockers are now 2-4 on the season.

And unlike the rest of the preseason top 25 — unlike the rest of the nation’s high-major programs — Wichita State won’t have a chance to load up on quality wins during league play. The Valley is better than we probably realized (more on that in a second), but it’s not like there are going to be a myriad of top 50 wins for the taking.

Look at Georgetown, for example. They Hoyas went 1-3 in the first week of the season, a stretch that included a home loss to Radford. But they also play in a conference where they’ll get home-and-homes against the likes of Villanova, Butler and Xavier.

The Shockers need to do their damage during the non-conference. They need to get the bulk of their resume put together before Valley play starts. Assuming they do win the rest of their non-league games, we’re not exactly looking at a daunting profile, either. The Shockers still have to visit Saint Louis and Seton Hall and host UNLV, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico State. UNLV and Utah should look like quality wins on Selection Sunday, but the rest of them?

Wichita State is putting themselves in a position where they may end up needing to win the Missouri Valley tournament just to get into the Big Dance, and the problem is that the Valley looks like it is really going to be tough this season. Northern Iowa notched a win over North Carolina already this year. Illinois State gave Maryland a fight and entered the season as a favorite to upset the Shockers. Evansville has two of the league’s five best players in D.J. Balentine and Egidijus Mockevicius.

They’re not waltzing through that conference by any stretch of the imagination.

That’s not exactly what VanVleet and Ron Baker had in mind when they decided to return to Wichita for one final season.