Aaron Craft’s NBA career projection: Ben Hansbrough

ben-hansbrough

If you want to forecast how the professional basketball career of over-publicized, former Ohio State guard Aaron Craft, then look at the pro career of once over-publicized, former Notre Dame guard Ben Hanbrough.

If SIU is “Floor burn U,” then Ben Hansbrough was “Captain Floor Burn.” During his college basketball career, he was even grindier than his brother Tyler Hansbrough. Ben didn’t make any preseason Big East all-conference teams, but yet he was the 2010-11 BE POY. Ben Hansbrough and Aaron Craft aren’t that similar of players, but they do have some similarities; most importantly the bottom line of what their NBA future holds.

[Read more…]

Notre Dame 2010-11 Season Review, Look Ahead to 2011-12

mike brey

Less than 24 hours after his team met a shockingly early exit from the 2011 NCAA Tournament, Notre Dame college basketball coach Mike Brey was named this year’s Henry Iba Coach of the Year, presented by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). The duality of emotion was quite indicative of how the 2010-11 Irish season went.

Brey, who was recognized as the Big East Coach of the Year honors for the third time in five seasons just two weeks ago, led the Irish to a 27-7 record (14-4 in conference) as Notre Dame finished second in regular-season conference standings and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament for the second consecutive year and fourth time under the 11-year mentor.

But a lot of it seems inconsequential as the Irish suffered a monumental upset at the hands of Florida State Sunday night. Any time a #2 seed, the school’s highest since 1981, fails to survive even the first weekend- that’s what you call a choke.

By Paul M. Banks

[Read more…]

Notre Dame vs. Florida State: Football Powers Clash for Sweet 16 Berth

 ty nash

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Florida State Seminoles have never met in college basketball. They’ve played some classic battles in college football, including #1 vs #2 “game of the century” in South Bend in 1993.

They’ll meet on the United Center hardwood Sunday night, with a NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance on the line. Expect a tough, physical and very defensive-minded game. The Seminoles specialize in defense, and they have their main weapon back in junior forward Chris Singleton. The 6-9 forward is the ACC’s Defensive Player of the year, and a probable NBA Draft pick.

By Paul M. Banks

[Read more…]

Notre Dame Beats Akron in Atypical #2 vs. #15 Game

Ben Hansbrough

It wasn’t a typical #15 vs. #2 NCAA Tournament game, but that’s what college basketball is all about. Especially this time of year. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish won by double digits, 69-56, but they didn’t win by the margin Vegas expected them to.

And it wasn’t easy. They were never to able to get ahead by more than 16, and the Akron Zips cut it to five on two occasions late in the second half.

“It took us a long time to get away from them because they’re old, they’re smart, and they play well defensively, ” Irish Coach Mike Brey said.

“I think we can still use tape as a teaching tool.”

[Read more…]

#2 Seed Notre Dame Looking to Make Noise in Tourney

ben-hansbrough

“Ben is our nuclear weapon in a lot of ways, and Ty is a nice offset to him,” ND college basketball coach Mike Brey told the media this St. Patrick’s Day during his turn at the United Center podium.

When his #2 seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish set to take on the #15 seed Akron Zips tomorrow in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, I guess point center Tyrone Nash would be the precision missile or the smart bomb to Ben Hansbrough’s nuclear blast.

[Read more…]

Notre Dame Basketball #4: Not bad for a Football School

Notre Dame basketball

This year’s Notre Dame team is a lot like another potential #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament; another team currently ranked in the college basketball top four- the Ohio State Buckeyes. In both South Bend and Columbus, college football comes first, foremost, and probably second, third and fourth too.

It sounds ridiculous to say, but both OSU and ND are “flying under the radar,” so to speak. Neither team gets the proper attention it deserves from it’s fanbase, because the gridiron is unquestionably king on both campuses. But hoops hotbedness is improving at the Joyce Center.

“I had four people come up to me and say, it’s a tough ticket tonight,” ND Coach Mike Brey said the night of the final home game in Purcell Pavilion.

“That’s music to my ears. I like that the place is 9,200. We want it to be a bit of a tough ticket and people scrambling in town.”

By Paul M. Banks

[Read more…]

Notre Dame’s Strong Case to be a #1 Seed in NCAA Tournament

mike_brey

The losses among the major college basketball national powers piled up last week- BYU, Purdue, Duke. Opening the door for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to grab that final #1 seed. To quote ’80s one-hit wonder Spandau Ballet, “we know this. much is true.” Ohio State is the overall top seed; Kansas and Pittsburgh will join them on the top line.

The final #1 however, is up for grabs, and ND, with a RPI of #9 can take it if they reach the Big East Tournament Final game, something the Irish and Mike Brey have never done. They don’t have to win it- just get there. Having a double-bye in the conference tournament will help.

The current No. 4 ranking is Notre Dame’s highest since being fourth in December 1980. The last time they were a #1 seed was 1979, when they lost to Magic Johnson’s national champion Michigan State Spartans. And this year, they once again have a top line resume.

By Paul M. Banks

[Read more…]

All-Big East Teams Selected, ND’s Hansbrough Only Unanimous Pick

Ben Hansbrough

The strongest college basketball conference in America named it’s best today. Six players were named to the All-BIG EAST First Team. The BIG EAST Player of the Year will come from that group. The conference will announce Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Tuesday, March 8.

ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM
Kemba Walker, Connecticut, G, Jr., 6-1, 172, Bronx, N.Y.
Austin Freeman, Georgetown, G, Sr., 6-3.5, 227, Mitchellville, Md.
*Ben Hansbrough, Notre Dame, G, Sr., 6-3, 206, Poplar Bluff, Mo.
Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh, G, Jr., 6-2, 190, Scotch Plains, N.J.
Marshon Brooks, Providence, G-F, Sr., 6-5, 200, Stone Mountain, Ga.
Dwight Hardy, St. John’s, G, Sr., 6-2, 195, Bronx, N.Y.

[Read more…]

Is Jon Diebler the Nation’s Best 3-Point Shooter?

Jon Diebler

There’s been some dominant shooting performances in college basketball this year. Less than a month ago, we saw Jordan Taylor light up #1 Ohio State in the second half en route to a comeback upset and just recently seniors Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis put on a shooting clinic on senior night against Villanova. However, Jon Diebler’s outing Tuesday night may be the best yet.

By: Justin Mertes-Mistretta

[Read more…]

Notre Dame’s Three Point Barrage a Special Shooting Night

abromaitis

Tim Abromaitis hit a career-high nine 3-pointers and he and Hansbrough scored 30 points each as the eighth-ranked Irish routed No. 19 Villanova 93-72 on Monday night. The victory ensured a double bye in the Big East tournament for Notre Dame and wrapped up a 17-0 season at home, the only Big East team to go unbeaten on its home court this season. Abromaitis’ nine 3-pointers were one shy of the school record set by Kyle McAlarney against North Carolina in 2008.

Notre Dame (24-5, 13-4) finished 20 for 32 on 3-pointers. The Irish, shooting 37.7 percent from 3-point range this season, were 11 for 19 in the first half, including 4 of 6 from Hansbrough, to build a 47-27 lead.

[Read more…]

Notre Dame, Hansbrough Celebrate Exciting Senior Night (Video)

Ben Hansbrough

Ben Hansbrough took the microphone after the game, stood at midcourt and started complimenting all those around him. Almost like the Academy Awards. He acknowledged coach Mike Brey, the wild fans at the Purcell Pavilion and his family sitting in the stands. He was most appreciative of his teammates following his final home men’s basketball game for Notre Dame. That’s because he and the Irish made the night a memorable one with their shooting.

[Read more…]

Casting My USA Basketball Writers Association Awards Ballot

jared sullinger

A secret ballot? Nah, when it comes to college basketball, I’ll shout my opinions and evaluations from the mountain top. I’ve covered a lot of teams both in the Big Ten and the Big East this past season: Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame and DePaul, so let’s begin.

We start by choosing my District: V. of course, covering Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Indiana, or as well call it The Sports Bank territory. Here’s who excelled in representing the Great Lakes/Upper Midwest.

By Paul M. Banks

[Read more…]