Like many teams in the Big East, Notre Dame is a bit puzzling to figure out. The Fighting Irish have now beaten then top-10 teams in Georgetown, Connecticut and, most recently, Pittsburgh. They’ve also lost to highly ranked teams in Syracuse and Kentucky.
Adding to the confusion, they recently dropped road games to St. John’s, which the Irish beat a week before losing by double digits, and Marquette.
I guess instead of trying to figure out the teams, it’s more about figuring out a league that is simply beating itself up. It’s also undoubtedly the best conference out there, and one that senior Ben Hansbrough is trying to win. The victory over Pitt was a start, but the Irish still have some catching up to do.
Ben Hansbrough joined 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis with The Ride to discuss his individual game, whether this season has been a surprise, if he’s lived up to his own expectations, what it was like playing against brother Tyler growing up, the biggest key to closing out the season and if anyone enjoys the game more than he does.
If he surprises defenders with his capability off the dribble:
“I don’t know. I think I’ve kind of got my reputation built up to where guys know that I can take them off the dribble. It’s just a matter of, are they able to stop me sometimes?”
Whether he expected this type of season for himself and Notre Dame:
“Oh yeah, absolutely. That’s one thing we wanted to do in the offseason is set goals for ourselves and talk about how good we could be and reaching our potential. If you look at some of the late last year stretch of the nucleus, the core we put together, we made some great runs. … I think that’ll help us this year. This team’s done a great job of believing in themselves.”
If he embraces this season more than any other:
“I won’t be able to answer that yet. We’ve still got a long way to go.”
Has he lived up to his expectations individually?:
“Individually, I don’t make very many individual goals. My goals, I would say, are probably more team-oriented and my goals have yet to be reached in the Big East Conference or the Big East tourney or the NCAA Tournament. We haven’t got anywhere near those yet.”
What the backyard games were like growing up with brother Tyler:
“They were very good; they were very physical. You almost had to have a referee out there — a basketball referee or a UFC referee, one of the two. They were good; very competitive.”
On the biggest key to closing out the season in the Big East:
“I think the biggest key is to continue to keep our focus as a unit and keep our energy ready.”
Does anyone enjoy playing college basketball as much as him?:
“I don’t know. There’s a lot of guys out there that enjoy the game and I’m just one of them.”