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Irish Links: Notre Dame basketball keeps on rolling

The Irish are red hot, as they have won five in a row.

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NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Irish win on senior day

The No. 19 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish took down Boston College in the home finale on Wednesday night, 82-66. It marked the last home game for seniors, Steve Vasturia, V.J. Beachem and walk-on Patrick Mazza.

Beachem had a nice bounce back game after going 3-14 from the field on Sunday vs. Georgia Tech. He led all scorers with 22 points on 8-17 from the field and grabbed four boards.

Junior forward Bonzie Colson continues to state his case for ACC Player of the Year. He notched his league leading 18th double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Even though he is quite deserving of the award, it maybe almost impossible to win it over Luke Kennard from Duke or Justin Jackson of North Carolina. Nine times out of 10, a Duke or UNC player is going to get the nod in the ACC.

If Notre Dame wins on Saturday at Louisville, and Duke takes down Carolina later that night, the Irish will have won a share of the ACC Regular Season Title. Who would have imagined that four weeks ago?

March has finally arrived

March is here, and so is the madness — at all levels of basketball.

On Wednesday night, Northwestern all but locked up a NCAA Tournament bid — would be their first ever — as they knocked off Michigan on a crazy last second play.

Then on Tuesday the Indiana High School State Playoffs opened up with a flurry. There is nothing quite like high school basketball in the state of Indiana, especially when it comes to the playoffs.

First down in Edinburgh, IN, Christian Academy won on a crazy last second full court shot.

Then on Wednesday, more craziness occurred in the Hoosier state, specifically in the same sectional. Two games in the Elkhart sectional were decided at the final buzzer, both on the same night. First Warsaw took down Northridge on a last second three, then Elkhart Central took down Penn on a last second tip-in in triple overtime. Hoosier Hysteria is alive and well, folks.

Who is the National Player of the Year?

I may be accused of being biased here, but if your answer isn’t Frank Mason III of Kansas then you’re wrong.

Yes, I understand the case for Caleb Swanigan. He’s had a great year. He leads the world in double-doubles. He’s about to be the third player ever to average 18/13/3 (Blake Griffin and Tim Duncan are the other two). He’s had four 20/20 games this season. Those things are all great, but look at who he’s doing this against. Purdue didn’t play the toughest of non-conference schedules and the Big Ten has been pretty bad this season. I know it’s hard to knock a kid for something out of his control, but its still something that definitely needs to be considered.

Then go look at what Mason is doing and who he’s doing it against. He’s averaging 20.2 PPG, 4.9 APG, 4.0 RPG and is shooting 50% from three, which leads the Big 12. He’s been the heartbeat of a Kansas team that has wrapped up a 13th consecutive Big 12 title and most likely a No. 1 seed in the tournament.

On top of that he’s shown when the lights have been the brightest. His numbers against top 10 opponents this season are border line absurd. In five games vs. the top 10, Mason is averaging 21.6 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.2 RPG and has shot 44% from the field and 90% from the foul line. And Kansas is 5-0 in those games. It’s safe to say he’s had his “Heisman moment.”

There can also be arguments for Lonzo Ball of UCLA and Josh Hart of Villanova. With Ball it might be tough because he’s a west coast guy (only three west coast players have won the award since 1990). Hart’s numbers are great, but probably just a notch below Mason.

The Process has been temporarily stopped

The Philadelphia 76ers announced on Wednesday that they would be shutting down big man Joel Embiid for the rest of the season due to a knee injury. Embiid had already sat his first two seasons after being drafted in 2014. He finally had the opportunity to play this year and excelled in his short time. In just 24 minutes per game, Embiid was averaging 20 points and 7 rebounds — which is absolutely absurd.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Sadly, Embiid has always had trouble staying healthy and on the court. According to ESPN’s Eric Fawcett, since his lone year at Kansas, Embiid had played in 59 of 281 possible games. Hopefully for Embiid’s sake he can find a way to stay healthy because he’s shown he’s one heckuva player.

Also, if you’re not already, follow Embiid on social media. He is definitely one of the better follows out there among athletes.

Kevin Durant goes down

Golden State Warriors star forward Kevin Durant received a bit of scare on Tuesday night in a loss to the Washington Wizards. Durant’s knee was rolled up on by center Zaza Pachulia. He was able to walk off the court, but did not return to action.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Durant had an MRI on Wednesday and it read that he had a sprained MCL and a bone bruise. He’ll be out indefinitely, but will be re-evaluated in four weeks.

This latest bit of bad news regarding Durant only begs one the Kevin Durant curse still alive and kicking?