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“It sounds like cockiness,” said guard Tim Hardaway Jr., another son of an ex-NBA star on the Wolverines roster. “But it’s not going to come down to just talent or who has the biggest players. It’s going to come down to heart and passion.”

Having a player such as Burke doesn’t hurt, either.

The sophomore already came up huge in the regionals, leading the Wolverines back from a 14-point deficit against Kansas with less than 7 minutes remaining. He knocked down a long 3-pointer at the end of regulation to tie the game, then finished off the upset of the top-seeded Jayhawks in overtime.

But Burke has never played against a defense quite like this.

“We’ve just got to try to find different ways to attack the zone,” he said. “They play a really good 2-3. It’s tough. We’ve got to make sure we knock down uncontested 3s.”

The zone is usually viewed as more of a passive defense.

Not the way Syracuse plays it.

Coach Jim Boeheim assembled a bunch of guys with impressive size and surprising quickness. When they’re all working together _ waving those long arms and moving back and forth in unison, like the ocean lapping at the shore _ it can be tough to get an open jumper and nearly impossible to work the ball inside.

Syracuse (30-9) has taken its trademark D to new levels of stinginess in the NCAA tournament.

The Orange have surrendered a paltry 45.75 points per game, holding Montana (34), top-seeded Indiana (50) and Marquette (39) to their lowest scoring totals of the season. Overall, Syracuse’s four tournament opponents have combined to shoot just 28.9 percent from field (61 of 211) and 15.4 percent from 3-point range (14 of 91).

None of those teams had a player like Burke.

That doesn’t seem to matter to Syracuse.

“It’s tough to go against our zone when you’ve never seen it before,” forward C.J. Fair said. “We want to force him to do some things he’s not done before.”

Michigan (30-7) prefers to get in the open court as much as possible, a style that is even more advantageous against a team such as Syracuse, which has a size advantage at almost every position.

The Wolverines are averaging 75.5 points a game on the season, even more (78.8) in their four NCAA games. Last weekend, after stunning Kansas, they romped past one of the nation’s best defensive teams, beating Florida 79-59 in the regional final.

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