College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 28, 2011
The US military coined the term "shock and awe" to describe what opposing inhabitants would think of our bombing attack, but the Notre Dame Fighting Irish may have successfully transferred the terminology into basketball parlance by bombing Villanova Monday night.
The Irish, undefeated at home this season, bombed the Wildcats, 93-72 in a game that was decidedly one-sided from just about the opening tip. The Irish opened the game with a trio of three-pointers and went on from there, hitting 20 of the 32 shots they took from beyond the painted arc.
Tim Abromaitis and Ben Hansbrough both scored 30 points, Abromaitis registering a season high with 9 of his 13 three-point shots falling pure. Hansbrough, being mentioned widely for Big East Player of the Year honors, was 8-for-12 overall, with 7 of 10 threes. He was also a perfect 7-for-7 from the foul line.
The 20 three-pointers was a Notre Dame record, and the 8th-ranked Irish are also the only team in the Big East to go undefeated at home this season, a perfect 17-0. The win put them 1/2 game behind Pittsburgh (13-3) for the Big East lead, with a 13-4 record and one game left to play, that a Saturday tip at UConn. Pitt plays at South Florida on Wednesday and closes out at home vs. Villanova.
The Wildcats have been skidding, losing five of their last seven games, and a loss at Pitt would put them at 8-8 in the conference, though they are 21-9 overall, their only non-conference loss coming at Tennessee in November.
NOTABLE: Just about the time everybody assumed the Kansas State Wildcats were dead, they came roaring back to life. Over the past two weeks the Wildcats have beaten Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri and Texas, knocking off the Longhorns, 75-70, Monday night in Austin. The five game win streak, following a loss to Colorado which many were scratching their heads over, was like a Midwest tour de force, and Kansas State once again looks the part of a contender.
As it turns out, the loss to Colorado was no fluke. The Buffs are 7-7, beat Texas on Saturday and are battling for respectability with Nebraska and Baylor. Kansas Stat etook over 4th place in the conference at 9-6 and appear to be a lock for the NCAA tourney.