Aaron Craft’s NBA career projection: Ben Hansbrough

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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.

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Indiana Pacers all out of sorts in wild Game 5

Wow, where to start with Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal series between the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat?

The lackluster play from the get-go for the Pacers? The three flagrant fouls called? The injuries to Danny Granger and David West? Team president Larry Bird calling out his players for going soft?

The Heat pretty much controlled the entire game Tuesday en route to a 115-83 victory at AmericanAirlines Arena and a 3-2 series lead, but the real story of this game might have been the juicy story lines it has produced for the next 48 hours leading up to Thursday’s pivotal Game 6 in Indianapolis.

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Indiana Pacers have Lots of Options, Cap Space this Offseason

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With nearly $34 million coming off the books and a head coaching vacancy that has yet to be filled, there are certainly questions surrounding the Indiana Pacers and more questions will arise over the next week as the 2011 NBA Draft approaches. Despite finishing with a record below .500, the Pacers made their first postseason appearance since 2006. Indiana’s starting five will remain the same next season: Darren Collison, Paul George, Danny Granger, Tyler Hansbrough and Roy Hibbert.

However, even with money available to spend during the offseason, a weak free agent class may force the Pacers to look to the draft to fill any voids.

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Pacers Tyler Hansbrough: Unintentionally Hilarious Audio

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If there’s ever a PSA, and a cautious example for the case against home schooling, it’s the audio below. The Pacers Tyler Hansbrough became a thorn in the side of Chicago Bulls fans in Round one of the NBA playoffs. Therefore, they’ll get a kick out of this audio of Hansbrough reading to children.

It’s tough to make fun someone when they’re doing community service for children- but his pronouncing of numerous words is just awful, and awfully hilarious. It’s too difficult to not laugh at this. Although I do feel awful for laughing so much at this because, he’s just doing a great service for NBA Cares.

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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

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

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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

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Notre Dame Blows Out Villanova on Senior Night 93-72

#9 Notre Dame came out of the gates shooting red hot from behind the arc, and the initial surge set the evening’s tone. #14 Villanova was never able to catch their breath and catch up, as they spent pretty much the entire first twenty minutes with half as many points on the scoreboard as the Irish.

ND was especially fired up for their Senior night as they happen to start all seniors (Ben Hansbrough, Tim Abromaitis, Tyrone Nash, Carleton Scott, Scott Martin). Hansbrough got the biggest ovation of all, as the Purcell Pavilion crowd was extremely fired up all night. Interestingly, Scott, Martin and Abro all return a fifth and final year of eligibility next season.

And the Irish gave the Joyce Center crowd plenty of reason to ignite, as they hit their first five treys and shot 58% (11-19) from three in the first half. Nova, by contrast was just 2-10 from behind the arc, and therefore found themselves trailing 47-27 at halftime.

By Paul M. Banks

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Marshon Brooks Breaks Big East Scoring Record, But Notre Dame Still Beats Providence

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Notre Dame was extremely lucky to escape the Dunkin Donuts Center with a win over Providence. And it took Ben Hansbrough’s career-high 32 points and Tim Abromaitis’ season-high 28 to get it done. That’s because 6-5 senior swingman Marshon Brooks scored a Providence and Big East-record 52 points.

Besides leading the conference and his team in scoring and rebounding, Brooks is also first on the team in 3-pointers made. He was named to the 30-player national midseason watchlist for the 2011 John R. Wooden Award.

It was his second 40-point game of the season and one of the best individual performances in college basketball this season. He had 43 in an 83-81 loss at Georgetown on February 5. Still No. 9 Notre Dame hung on for a 94-93 win over struggling Providence on Wednesday night  The Irish (22-5, 11-4 Big East) are off to their best start ever in 11 seasons under coach Mike Brey.

By Paul M. Banks

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Notre Dame Winning with 3 Cs: Confidence, Cohesion, Chemistry

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Given what was expected of Notre Dame this year, versus what they’ve produced, it’s time to talk about Fighting Irish leader Mike Brey as possible conference coach of the year. He has two Big East coaching awards already (’07, ’08), but this could be the best coaching job he’s ever done.

A so-called rebuilding year has turned into a 21-4, top ten nationally ranked season. ND has won its last seven Big East games, matching the second-longest Big East regular-season win streak in program history.

Their overtime win over #15 Louisville this past week conveyed all that has been going right for ND this year.

“The whole team brought a lot of confidence,” said star guard Ben Hansbrough.

“Especially when I had that rebound and I dropped it. It was great to see my guys will their way back into it and continue to fight.”

By Paul M. Banks

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Notre Dame Routs USF: Notes and Numbers

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Notre Dame is off to its best start in 30 years in men’s college basketball and gaining confidence with every victory. The eighth-ranked Fighting Irish too their seventh straight Saturday, routing runt of the Big East litter South Florida 78-55 with a balanced scoring attack led by Jack Cooley’s career-high 18 points.

The strong start is the program’s best since the 1980-81 season. The Irish can match their best-ever record through 14 conference games (11-3 in 2000-01) by winning at No. 25 West Virginia next Saturday.

For those of you unaware, Cooley is nicknamed “Baby Gody” because of the fact that he has the same haircut and looks a lot like the just departed Luke Harangody.

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Naimsith Award List Narrowed Down to 30

jared sullinger

The Atlanta Tipoff Club announces today the 2010-11 Naismith midseason list of the top 30 men’s basketball talent in the nation. After three months of phenomenal college basketball play, several players are distinguishing themselves as reflected in the list.

The midseason 30 list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the 2010-11 college basketball season. The Naismith Trophy will be awarded at the 2011 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Houston.

Through the power and ease of text messaging, fan voting will account for 25 percent of all of the final results – more than any other national college basketball award.

Here’s the full list of the midseason nominees

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