Notre Dame Will Be Tim Abromaitis’ Team This Season

tim abromaitis notre dame

Notre Dame basketball had an unexpected breakthrough season last year, even though it ended very poorly. They had the second best record in the Big East and were just one Big East tournament win away from probably securing a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Of course, there was the disaster upset to #10 seed Florida State very close to home at Chicago’s United Center. Still it doesn’t take away from all that the team accomplished last year.

Last year’s Big East Player of the Year Ben Hansbrough is now playing professionally in Germany.

However, Tim Abromaitis is still in South Bend, and he’s a nightmare match-up due to his ability to stroke it from deep and use his size to back down defenders in the post.

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Fighting Irish Lose Best Player for 4 Games, NCAA Technicality

tim abromaitis notre dame

Fighting Irish forward Tim Abromaitis, the player expected to replace Ben Hansbrough as the team’s leader, top scorer, and overall best talent, will miss the first four games of the college basketball regular season.

Why? A misunderstanding in the technicality of an NCAA rule dating back to the 2008-09 season.

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#34 Notre Dame Fighting Irish: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

In losing Luke Harangody, expectations were lower for Notre Dame last season.  However, their veteran line-up rose to the challenge, finishing with the second best record in the Big East and earning a number two seed in the NCAA Tournament.  With three starters gone from a year ago, the Fighting Irish are again flying under the radar heading into the 2011-2012 season.

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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’s Three Point Barrage a Special Shooting Night

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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.

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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.

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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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Louisville’s Rick Pitino gets Coaching “Pantsed” at Notre Dame

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There’s only one way to describe what happened to the Louisville Cardinals, and their coach Rick Pitino- a college basketball coaching version of getting “pantsed.” You’ve heard of the term “half-time adjustments,” well what about overtime adjustments.

Pitino and Notre Dame’s Mike Brey traded blows for 40 minutes last night, tied at 74 heading to regulation. Then UL just got absolutely owned at Notre Dame, as the Irish started the extra session on a 14-0 run and folded the cards 89-79.

One of the biggest factors contributing to the outcome was ND switching from man to zone at an opportune time.

“We’re big; that group can play zone. We did not talk about it in the timeout. We kind of changed on the fly, and we did a great job. That is veteran guys making it work. That helped us. It changed their rhythm a little bit,” Brey said postgame.

By Paul M. Banks

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#15 Louisville falls at #7 Notre Dame in Overtime

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High scoring. Good Shooting. An overtime session dominated by the home team in an extremely spirited venue- this was Big East college basketball at it’s finest.

#14 Louisville tied #7 Notre Dame at 74 when two halves were concluded. However, Irish eyes perked wide open in the extra session, as ND owned the extra five minutes with a 14-0 run. UL didn’t even score in overtime until there was 42.6 seconds remaining.

By Paul M. Banks

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Hansbrough Big East Player of the Year? Abromaitis in NBA Mock Drafts?

Ben Hansbrough

It seems like the #7 Fighting Irish might be the least hyped top ten team of all time. Of course, when you pay attention to some Mike Brey quotes and NBA Draftniks’ work, perhaps that’s changing.

Ben Hansbrough for Big East player of the year? His name certainly has to be in the discussion, but obviously the favorite UConn’s Kemba Walker, and you’d have to place Pittburgh’s Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker well ahead of Hansbrough.

What about national college basketball player of the year, an award his brother won two seasons ago? (Yeah, we don’t think so either, but) Notre Dame coach Mike Brey started the drums beating for his team’s emotional leader after Hansbrough scored 25 points despite a tough start to lead No. 9 Notre Dame to a 76-69 win over Rutgers on Sunday at Purcell Pavilion.

“When you step back a bit, look at this, and get away from the preseason hype machine, certainly he is a Big East player of the year candidate as well as national player of the year,” Brey said.

“Flat out. I mean, we are in the Top Ten and he has driven us into that position and we are in the hunt for the league title. It is starting to be really evaluated. Some people say ‘Let’s see what he does next game.’ Well, he did it again.”

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UConn’s Jim Calhoun very Impressed by Notre Dame

So how important were Notre Dame’s basketball victories over #8 Georgetown and #9 Connecticut in the last week? Well it hasn’t happened in a half-century. The last time Notre Dame defeated AP top 10 teams in back-to-back home games came in 1960-61. They defeated #7 DePaul 61-58, then #7 St. John’s 64-63. Which is especially impressive when you consider they finished 12-14 that season.

Those are the only two times it’s happened in Irish college basketball history.
On Tuesday night they significantly limited UConn’s Kemba Walker, the nation’s leading scorer, and it caught the attention of Jim Calhoun, the dean of Big East coaches.

“Mike’s (Brey, Irish Coach) is doing one of the best jobs in the league because it’s a nice team, a nic team to watch playing together,” said Calhoun.

“They’re good because they move the ball, they have the outside threat, (Ben) Hansbrough is a son-of-a-gun competitor, amd Timmy (Abromaitis) is one fo the most improved players in the country, and the work ethic he’s put in tobecome as good as he is really speaks well.”

By Paul M. Banks

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