Notre Dame coach Mike Brey was worried entering Monday's home finale against Villanova.
The No. 8 Irish had a lot on their plate.
"It's Senior Night. We can close the gap on Pitt (for first place in the Big East), playing for the double-bye (in the Big East tournament)," Brey listed as his concerns.
But those worries were eased even before Notre Dame opened on a 14-4 en route to a 93-72 blowout of Villanova in Purcell Pavilion.
"We were really loose and bouncing around," Brey said of his team before the game. "We were so loose we played knockout at the end of the shoot-around. I was in there, and I mentioned whoever knocks me out, I'm going to take their scholarship. Ben (Hansbrough) knocked me out. I said I'm going to bill his agent instead."
Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis each scored 30 points as Notre Dame hit a school record 20 three-pointers. The 20 threes also tied the Big East mark.
The Irish finished 20 of 32 on three-pointers (62.5 percent), a better percentage than they were on two-pointers where Notre Dame went 9 of 20 (45 percent).
The Irish also held Villanova to 46.7 percent shooting.
And as unbelievable as the night sounds, Hansbrough – who put on his Purcell Pavilion performance in front of his family (including older brother, former North Carolina star and current Indiana Pacer Tyler) and Irish football coach Brian Kelly – said the team expected things to go that well.
"I think that's the first thing you have to do is expect things of yourself before you do them," Hansbrough said. "If you don't expect yourself to do them, you will never do them."
Defending the home court
The blowout win over Villanova (21-9, 9-8) secured two things Monday.
Notre Dame clinched a double-bye in next week's Big East tournament, meaning the Irish (24-5, 13-4) will not play until the tourney's quarterfinals.
The Irish also finished with their third undefeated home slate in the last five seasons. Notre Dame went 17-0 at home this season and was the only team in the Big East that didn't lose on its home court.
"It's very important because it is one of the goals we talked about accomplishing before the season," Hansbrough said.
Making an impression
Hansbrough left quite an impression on Villanova coach Jay Wright.
The Irish guard scored 30 points, had 10 assists and connected on seven of Notre Dame's school record 20 three-pointers.
"I'd have to say that he's the best I've seen so far," Wright said. "That kid just dominated the game. He did a great job against Corey Fisher (who scored 22 points). He defended; controlled the tempo. He made shots. He got everyone else shots."
Just missed ... sort of
While Notre Dame set a new standard for three-pointers in a game, topping the old mark of 19 against South Dakota on Dec. 2, 2008, Abromaitis just missed making some history of his own.
The Irish forward connected on nine three-pointers, just one shy of the single-game mark set by Kyle McAlarney against North Carolina on Nov. 26, 2008.
"I wasn't really focused on getting any number of threes, but it was pretty cool to be able to knock so many down," Abromaitis said.