College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 24, 2013
Battling in the Big Ten has become something akin to sumo wrestling at times this season, with heavyweights taking each other up and off the court in a manic scramble to the top spot in the standings.
Currently, top-ranked Indiana holds sway in the conference with a 12-2 mark, with Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio State - all ranked - playing catch-up.
On Sunday, Trey Burke provided ample offense for the Wolverines to tear up overmatched Illinois - a solid team that despite a 7-8 record in the conference still stands a good chance of receiving an at-large invitation to the national tournament - with a game-high 26 points in a 71-58 laugher that didn't seem very funny when the Illini took a three-point lead into intermission.
Michigan scored 43 second half points, limiting Illinois to 27, to run away for the home win. Burke proved quite the marksman, making eight of 11 shots, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc. He also nailed eight of 10 free throws and added eight assists while committing just one turnover.
The win left the 10-4 Wolverines two games back of the Hoosiers with one more crack at them in the regular season finale - a mark 10 home game.
Adding to the mix was Ohio State, which did its part to keep the Big Ten the most fascinating conference in the country, with a 68-60 win over Michigan State. The 10-5 Buckeyes have just three games left on their conference calendar, one of them a trip to Indiana on March 5.