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.
“Just growing up around my house, whoever’s playing pingpong, you really, really want to win the game,” Ben Hansbrough said. “You could go downstairs in our pingpong (area). There were about seven holes in the wall. My dad’s smart because he put a punching bag down there.”
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.
Tall tales and ice cream
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 today, 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, who went to high school in Bremerton, Wash.
“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 (who went to Seattle Prep),” 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.”