It's official: Michigan is headed back to the Final Four for the first time since 1993.
Not surprisingly, Trey Burke is the biggest reason why.
And that's why the sophomore guard is going to be one of the first names called at the 2013 NBA draft in June.
In taking the No. 4 Wolverines to the Final Four, Burke has demonstrated the sort of mettle and ability to rise to the occasion that NBA coaches and scouts value above almost anything else.
During Michigan's Elite Eight clash with No. 3 Florida, Burke came up big for the third game in a row, dropping 15 points, seven boards and eight dimes on the Gators, helping the maize and blue to a 79-59 victory at Cowboys Stadium.
No, it wasn't Burke's best day shooting, as the All-American went 5-of-16 from the field, but he contributed in other ways and was strong defensively for the surging Wolverines.
At this point, Burke has to be considered a legitimate contender to be a top-three pick at the draft, because clutch players of his caliber don't come around often.
In CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman's most recent mock draft, Trey Burke is pegged to be taken at No. 6, after listing him at No. 9 in the previous ranking.
Burke's performance in the Sweet 16 against No. 1 Kansas was the type of game that future NBA All-Stars are remembered for at the college level, and his game-tying three will be one of the few moments that this NCAA tournament we'll be able to recall easily years from now.
But in the Elite Eight, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year certainly didn't disappoint, as Burke contributed offensively, and maybe more importantly, only turned the ball over once.
Now, he's definitely in the mix to be a top-three pick, depending on how the draft order shakes out, but it's difficult to see him falling beyond No. 5, because there's simply no way that four teams would pass on a player as dynamic at both ends of the floor as Burke.
That's not to say that Burke doesn't have help, because both Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III should be first-rounders as well. But there have never been any illusions about who is the engine of this team.
These are Burke's Wolverines, and though he hasn't always lead the way offensively on the stat sheet throughout this tournament, this team will go as far as Burke can take them.
He's got a very good shot at being named Most Outstanding Player at the Big Dance, and if that happens, he's a near-lock to be one of the first three prospects to hear his name called at the draft.
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