The transformation in the tournament had nothing to do with the more heralded players. Michigan's run to make the Final Four wasn't about Trey Burke (well, there was that shot vs. Kansas) or Tim Hardaway, Jr. or Nik Stauskas (okay, there were those six 3-pointers vs. Florida).
Rather, it was about 6-foot-10 freshman center Mitch McGary. He wasn't exactly a stiff coming out of high school -- he chose Michigan over Duke and Maryland.
But he took time to adjust. McGary has only started six games this season. He scored in double figures only six times in the regular season and grabbed double-digit rebounds only four times.
However, he's averaged 17.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in the tournament. What the left-hander does is take advantage of teams needing to help when Burke penetrates. McGary's strong hands enable him to score in traffic, too. If Michigan is to beat Syracuse, Burke must handle the zone well. And then McGary must continue doing what he's done.
- John Keim