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Hansbrough brothers enjoying successful run

Budding Ben Hansbrough brings star quality to Fighting Irish

POSTED March 19, 2011 5:10 p.m.
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Ben Hansbrough of Notre Dame eyes a camera duri...

CHICAGO (AP) — That fan who taunted Ben Hansbrough by yelling, "Tyler's better!" during Notre Dame's second-round win won't get any argument from the Big East player of the year.

Not these days, at least.

Ben Hansbrough is averaging 21.9 points, 5.1 assists and 4.4 rebounds over the last 14 games, a stretch in which Notre Dame has gone 12-2. But Tyler Hansbrough, the 2008 national player of the year, has had three games just this week with at least 29 points.

After scoring 29 and 30 against the New York Knicks on Sunday and again Tuesday, Tyler Hansbrough scored 29 and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Indiana Pacers' 115-108 victory Friday night over the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls.

"I'm going to have to go with Tyler right now, because of the level he's doing it at," Ben Hansbrough said Saturday, when asked which brother is playing better right now.

The Hansbroughs are close — Tyler recently said his younger brother is "still my favorite teammate ever" — and being separated by 130 miles has made it easy for them to keep tabs on each other. They're also extremely competitive.

Or at least they used to be, anyway.

"Just growing up around my house, whoever's playing ping pong, you really, really want to win the game," Ben Hansbrough said. "You could go downstairs in our ping pong (area). There were about seven holes in the wall. My dad's smart because he put a punching bag down there."

Ben Hansbrough figured he and older brother Greg did most of the damage. Tyler is more likely to break paddles.

"It's very intense in whatever we do," Ben Hansbrough said. "That's what makes us who we are, but it's fun. It's very fun, too. We can make fun of each other, joke with each other about it. I guess it's just part of who we were growing up."

As for Tyler's recent success?

"He's been playing really well," Ben Hansbrough said. "He works his butt off in offseason and I'm glad to see he's having success like he is. I couldn't be happier for him."

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PITCHING STABILITY: The Big East has seen its share of upheaval in recent years. Now, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey would like to see something else: stability.

TCU is joining in 2012, and he hopes that's it for now.

"We haven't done our fans any favors because we keep changing the Big East," Brey said.

Brey said that was one issue he had to overcome after he left Delaware for the Fighting Irish in 2000. Even so, he said, if Notre Dame was in the Big Ten, "I don't know it would be a great fit for me, but it was great in the Big East."

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TUNING IN: The NCAA tournament's new television format is drawing more viewers.

The second-round games Friday across four networks averaged 7.6 million viewers. That's up 19 percent from last year, when games were only on CBS.

The NCAA's 14-year, $10.8 billion deal with CBS and Turner means each game is televised nationally in its entirety on CBS, TNT, TBS or truTV. In the past, broadcasts on CBS were regionalized, and the network would switch among games.

Ratings were especially big for the afternoon games, which had more tight finishes.

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FULL CIRCLE: Michigan coach John Beilein's first Division I coaching job was at Canisius, and his first game there was at Duke.

That 1992 Blue Devils were coming off back-to-back national championships, and the Canisius team that Beilein brought to Cameron Indoor Stadium that night wasn't anywhere near that level.

"We walked into the shootaround and there was Krzyzewskiville set up," Beilein said, referring to the tent city populated by students before big games at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"I go, 'Damn, they're set up in Krzyewskiville to play Canisius?'" Beilein said. "I asked somebody, 'You're set up, camping out for the Canisius games?'

"He said, 'Heck, no, we play Michigan this weekend.'"

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ICE CREAM & RECRUITING: Xs and Os gave way to dueling stories about ice cream, college choices and recruiting as North Carolina's Roy Williams and Washington's Lorenzo Romar sparred good naturedly Saturday.

The coaches, whose teams meet Sunday, got to know each when they were both recruiting Paul Pierce. Williams, then at Kansas, won that tussle over Romar, then an assistant at UCLA.

Williams claimed he later used the fact that one of Romar's daughter went to North Carolina to snag Marvin Williams.

"I said, 'Marvin, ask Lorenzo where his daughter went to school,'" Williams said, smiling. "That sort of ended that recruiting stuff real quickly there."

Romar later claimed Williams was fibbing.

"I knew he'd mess that up. It was Martell Webster," Romar said. "He said, 'Coach Romar's daughter even went to North Carolina. I thought it was interesting he brought that out in the home visit."

Neither coach ended up with Webster, who went straight to the NBA.

The coaches also had conflicting stories about an ice cream debt.

"I don't really like him, and be sure and tell him I said that, OK?" Williams said. "Last time we were together, I had to buy the daggone ice cream. He didn't bring any money with him."

That brought a strong rebuff from Romar.

"He's unbelievable," Romar deadpanned. "He begged me to go walk to the store with him to get ice cream."


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