On Monday, the Big Ten announced that Burke was the league's Player of the Year – but is this a harbinger of the National Player of the Year race?
In Michael Rothstein's straw poll released last week, Burke finished in first, with Georgetown's Otto Porter and Oladipo running second and third. Burke and Oladipo had the most first-place votes, though. The weekly Player of the Year column from our own Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish had Burke on top last week, taking the No. 1 spot from Oladipo and keeping Porter at No. 3.
Both of those articles were written before Indiana's win at Michigan on Sunday afternoon, though, a game in which Oladipo went for 14 points and 13 rebounds – while Burke shot 7-for-20 while finishing with 20 points. The loss knocked the Wolverines down to the No. 5 seed in the Big Ten tournament, and it also gave Indiana the outright Big Ten title.
With all that factored in, Burke still got the award in the Big Ten. It's tough to argue with the call, even though Oladipo has gained a ton of momentum in the past few weeks. Burke has been outstanding throughout the season, scoring in double-figures in each contest.
Will the Wolverines' struggles down the stretch – 5-5 in their last 10 games – play a factor in the national race? And will Porter usurp both Burke and Oladipo and take the Player of the Year award away from the Big Ten entirely?
For now, Burke has the upper hand.
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