ARLINGTON, Texas -- Guard play usually is the determining factor in the NCAA Tournament, and it almost sounds as if Kansas coach Bill Self is as high on Michigan's Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. as Wolverines coach John Beilein is going into Friday night's South Regional semifinal.
"Trey should be the national player of the year," Self said of the Michigan point guard. "That's not coachspeak because we play them. I voted for him before the brackets came out. He's terrific. Tim has size and can shoot over the top of you. They're a great combination. I haven't seen a better backcourt in the country than Michigan has."
Beilein admitted the Wolverines are in a good position to upset the top-seeded Jayhawks. "When your two guards have the experience, it's really an advantage," Beilein said. "The point guard position's importance has escalated beyond belief in the last 10 years."
Burke struggled through a 2-for-12 shooting performance over South Dakota State, but had 18 points and seven assists in a win over VCU to reach the Sweet 16. Meanwhile, Kansas freshman shooting guard Ben McLemore, whose 15.8 scoring average leads the Jayhawks, has struggled lately.
Self isn't worried.
"He's going to play great [Friday night]," Self said. "I really believe that, and I think he believes that . . . He needs to understand he's really good, as good as there is."