March 8, 2013
Borton's Blog: Some Odd Maize Ragefellows
Trey Burke hails from Columbus, so he knows better than to expect much vocal support from back home - except on Sunday afternoon.
That's when it all changes. Dogs and cats take up residence in the same apartment, John Boehner slaps on his Obama button, the Hatfields and McCoys host a joint family reunion, and Buckeyes start pulling for Wolverines to win
or at least for Indiana to lose.
And that's not all, Burke acknowledged, with a grin.
"Yeah, of course - and Michigan State, too," Burke said. "Those guys are rooting for us, too."
Of course, Spartans and Buckeyes everywhere will expectorate all over the phraseology. But the bottom line is, the ones in which sanity wins out over sourness want Michigan to feature more points on the board at the end of the final regular season game than does Indiana.
Indiana wins, the Hoosiers are outright Big Ten champs. Michigan wins, it's a party - the Wolverines, Hoosiers, Buckeyes and Spartans all comparing title rings.
"Yeah, it's really weird," Burke said. "You never see those guys in green or Ohio State rooting for us. You never see that.
"It was kind of like the situation we were in last year, with Michigan State playing Ohio State. It was us not necessarily rooting for Ohio State, but rooting for Michigan State to lose."
Jared Sullinger, Burke's high school teammate and college nemesis as a former Buckeye, even tweeted out his all-Michigan, all-day Sunday message to the masses. That produced another smile from the sophomore point guard.
"I talked to him about that," Burke said. "He told me he put that out there. He roots for me, either way it goes, but he never roots for Michigan. That's weird, too. That's a first. I'm looking forward to that. I want to see how that ends up."
What's less weird, this season, involves not having to root for anybody, the position in which the Wolverines now find themselves. This is infinitely better, they assure.
Take care of business. Beat Indiana. No watching the television, tipping over the TV trays at every TV Ted Valentine whim. Finish the job.
"It's much different," Burke assured. "We control our own destiny. We're not depending on another team to win a championship for us. We just have to go out there and do what we know how to do
"We're able to actually go out there on Sunday and win ourselves a Big Ten championship. That's a blessing, really. That's a great opportunity.
"That's the beauty of this game. We know it's do or die. If we lose, they win it outright. If we win, we get at least a share of it. There's really no room for error."
But plenty of room in the cheering section.
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