Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Colbert Wins NASA Contest!

As Stephen Colbert would say, "WE DID IT!!!"

NASA's recent contest to name a new node for the International Space Station ended with the winning vote getter being "COLBERT".

Stephen instructed the nation to vote for his name to be sent into space and they responded with over 230,000 votes.

NASA reserves the right to choose an appropriate name for the node and they will make a final decision in April.

If they choose something other than "COLBERT", there will no doubt be hell to pay from his constituents.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Weis Sings With Bon Jovi

Wanted dead or alive:

Weis On ESPN

Offered without comment:

The Hazards Of Love

Our song of the day has been dormant for some time, so I bring it back to preview a new song from the upcoming release by The Decemberists. "The Wanting Comes In Waves" is a taste off the new "concept album" The Hazards Of Love.

I've heard the entire album several times so far and it's quite an impressive work. This is one of the early front-runners for my favorite song on the album. Really great stuff and once I wrap my head around the whole record I'll post a proper review.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Irish Draw Beavers In Midwest Regional Semifinal

Pairings were released earlier this morning for the 2009 NCAA Men's Division 1 Ice Hockey Championship, confirming the road Notre Dame will face as it seeks to not only get back to the title game but win its first hockey title in school history.

The Fighting Irish will take on the Bemidji State Beavers on March 28 in the Midwest Regional Semifinal* which will be held at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI. The game will be televised on ESPN Classic at 7:30pm EST.

The Irish/Beavers winner will advance to the Midwest Regional Final on March 29 (8:00pm EST on ESPNU) to take on the winner of the Northeastern/Cornell matchup. The winner of the Midwest Regional Final will earn a spot in the Frozen Four in Washington, D.C.

This marks the Beavers' third trip to the Division 1 NCAA Tournament and their first contest against the Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame comes into the tournament riding the nation's longest winning streak at 10 games. Last season the Irish barely made the tournament as they snuck in with a #4 seed through an at-large bid after stumbling late in the season and failing to win the 2008 CCHA Championship.

The Irish took advantage of their berth in the tournament though, as they powered their way to their first ever championship game appearance. Notre Dame fell 4-1 to the Boston College Eagles, who claimed their 4th national championship.

An automatic bid for winning the CCHA Championship left only the doubt of "whom" the Irish would play in the tournament, not "if" they would make it.

It's time to get down to business and give ND a reason to light the #1 sign on top of Grace Hall.

For those unfamiliar with the NCAA hockey tournament the amount of teams in the bracket is significantly less than for basketball. This should not be a hard concept to grasp as there are many southern/western schools that do not have the climates to encourage such activity. The east coast has hockey while the west has water polo.

Fichigan Mucked, 5-2

Congratulations to the 2009 CCHA Conference Champions, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish!

After trailing for the bulk of the game, Notre Dame bounced back and retaliated for a 5-2 victory over the Michigan Wolverines.

The Irish trailed 2-0 late in the 2nd period before Billy Maday redirected a shot from Kevin Deeth to cut the deficit in half. From there ND added 4 scores in the 3rd period with goals from Calle Ridderwall (2), Ben Ryan, and Christiaan Minella.

For the second straight game sophomore Ben Ryan notched the game-winning goal.

Go Irish, Wolverines Beaten!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Irish Face Wolverines in CCHA Title Game Tonight

Tonight at 7:35pm EST the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hockey squad take on the Michigan Wolverines in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Championship.

Last night the Irish beat the Northern Michigan Wildcats 2-1 to advance to tonight's title game against the Wolverines, who handled the Alaska Nanooks 3-1.

With 1:00 left in the game and the score tied 1-1, Notre Dame sophomore Ben Ryan scored off a rebound shot to propel (Irish head coach) Jeff Jackson's squad to the championship game.

The Irish and Wolverines played twice during the regular season with each squad winning on the opponent's home ice. Michigan took the first game 2-1 to end Notre Dame's 20-game unbeaten streak. One night later the Irish redeemed themselves with a 3-2 victory in Ann Arbor.

A win for the #1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (30-5-3) against the #3 Michigan Wolverines (29-10-0) would likely mean the overall #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, while a loss would still earn the Irish a subsequent #1 seed with no guarantee for the overall #1.

Here's a flashback of the classic Frozen Four bout between these two rivals last year, which ended in dramatic fashion...

Go Irish, Beat Wolverines!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

NIT ROUND 2 Preview: Baylor @ Virginia Tech

Following an exciting 116-108 double overtime win against Duquesne Wednesday, Virginia Tech hopes there’s still gas in the tank as they host another talented group in the Baylor Bears Saturday at 11 AM.

No. 3 Baylor (21-14, 5-11 Big 12)

Baylor is coming off an historic 74-72 win over Georgetown in the first round of the NIT. The win marks the Bears first postseason victory in 59 years.

The crew from Waco, TX has five players of averaged double figure scoring this season. The Bears like to play at a face pace and really push the ball up court quickly, similar in some ways to the style of play employed by North Carolina.

The group of Baylor scorers is led by guard Curtis Jerrells who is the trigger-man for the Bears attack. The senior averaged 16.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.7 APG and nearly two steals per contest. Jerrells has scored in double figures in all but 4 games this season and will look to do it again on Saturday.

The next two top scoring guards for Baylor are both equally suited to shoot the basketball, and make up two fifths of an all-name team.

Guards LaceDarius Dunn (15.5 PPG, 4.5 REB) and Tweety Carter (10.6 PPG, 3.1 APG) are both capable of stepping aside to let Jerrells carry the load, or exploding for a big night themselves.

Dunn scored 33 earlier this season at Kansas State and Carter had 30 points in a mach up with Oklahoma State.

Down low, the Bears are led by senior forward Kevin Rogers (12.4 PPG, 7.5 REB). At 6-9, Rogers will likely see a combination of Cheick Diakate and J.T. Thompson. Diakite didn’t play against Duquesne as the Hokies were forced to go with a smaller lineup against the Dukes guards.

No. 2 Virginia Tech (19-14, 7-9 ACC)

The Hokies got career nights from sophomore cousins J.T. Thompson and Dorenzo Hudson last time out. Both scored career highs in points with 21 and 15 respectively.

All five Tech starters scored in double figures and were once again led by senior A.D. Vassallo.

Vassallo scored 33 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and added 5 assists and 3 blocks. He now sits in fifth place on Virginia Tech’s all-time scoring list.
Sophomore Jeff Allen was also dominant against the smaller Dukes posting a double-double of his own with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

Sophomore guard Malcolm Delaney just missed a similar feat with 20 points and 9 assists. In his last two games, Delaney has 19 assists. He’s playing within the offense and letting things come to him. He’s playing at a very high level right now.

The Hokies will be able to go with their more conventional lineup in this one, but after his impressive play of late, J.T. Thompson may well start his second consecutive game in place of Cheick Diakite.

Tech will look for similar scoring balance in this one to ease the burden on the “big three” of Vassallo, Delaney, and Allen.


When the Hokies play an opponent that likes to push the ball up court quickly, they like to try and dictate the pace of the game and keep things to their liking.

Look for Tech to be deliberate on offense. They’ll certainly score quickly in transition when the opportunity presents itself, but they’ll slow things down as much as possible.

Duquesne was a very good team, but Baylor is at a higher level. Don’t let their bad conference record fool you, of the Bears five Big 12 wins, three were over Texas, Kansas and Texas A& M, all teams that made the NCAA Tournament.

This game should be yet another close one which will come as no surprise to Hokie basketball fans.

Tech always has an advantage playing at home and that advantage may be even bigger in this one. The 11 AM start will feel like a 9 AM tip-off for the Bears who travel to Blacksburg from the central time zone.

Baylor 78
Virginia Tech 80

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

NCAA Tournament Greatest Plays

In case you hadn't heard, the real post-season basketball tournament starts tomorrow on CBS. Here's a preview of why workforce productivity will decline roughly 72% over the next few weeks.

We here at Stars and Slights hope your brackets don't fall apart on day 1. We know ours won't...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

NIT ROUND 1 Preview: Duquesne @ Virginia Tech

Former Atlantic 10 foes Virginia Tech and Duquesne meet Wednesday night in Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, VA. Like most NIT games, this one has some interesting story lines.

No. 7 Duquesne (21-11, 9-7 Atlantic 10)

Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart has done a tremendous job turning around the Dukes program just a few years removed from tragedy.

Everhart returns to Cassell Coliseum where he was once a player for the Hokies. There’s no doubt this game means a little extra to him.

The Atlantic 10 is quickly dismissed as just a mediocre conference by most, but in reality it’s a strong league and potentially the best of the “mid-majors”.

The Dukes are one of five A-10 squads with at least 20 wins this season. Among the others are No. 22 Xavier and Dayton, two teams that made the NCAA Tournament and were both defeated this season by Duquesne.

The Dukes predominantly run a four-guard lineup that can distribute, shoot and play pesky defense. Several key players are guards/forwards with good length who can rebound, pass and score quite effectively.

Senior guard Aaron Jackson sets the pace for the Dukes. This season Jackson averaged 18.5 PPG and 5.8 APG to go along with nearly 2 steals per contest.

Another versatile player is sophomore guard/forward Bill Clark (13.2 PPG, 5.1 REB, 2.8 SPG). Clark is 6-5, Jackson is 6-4 and guard/forward Melquan Bolding (9.6 PPG, 4.4 REB, 1.1 APG) is also 6-4.

Sophomore forward Damian Saunders compliments that group at 6-7. Saunders averaged 13.3 PPG this season to go along with a team high 7.7 rebounds per contest.

Clearly, Duquesne’s “small” lineup isn’t that small. The smallest player who gets significant time is freshman guard Eric Evans (9.5 PPG, 2.2 APG) who is 5’11”.

No. 2 Virginia Tech (18-14, 7-9 ACC)

Clearly, the Hokies will have their hands full against the Dukes.

Their lineup presents Tech with some match up issues and it will be interesting to see who they go with in this one.

Duquesne likes to shoot from outside to the tune of 24 three-point attempts per game, making 35 percent.

Seth Greenberg will have to decide what personnel best suit the situation. If he uses a “big” lineup including likely starters senior Cheick Diakite (6-9) and sophomore Jeff Allen (6-7), it makes the Dukes tougher to defend on the perimeter.

Of course since Duquesne lacks a true big man, Tech could try and pound the ball low and take advantage in the post, hoping the Dukes won’t hurt them too much from outside. This chess match should be interesting.

Sophomore guard Malcolm Delaney is coming off what Greenberg called the best game of his career, a gut-wrenching 79-76 loss to No. 1 North Carolina in the ACC Tournament Friday.

Delaney had a double-double with 17 points and a career high 10 assists. He saw things develop before they happened on offense and played tough, aggressive defense. The Hokies will rely on Delaney as usual to be a catalyst for things.

Finally there’s A.D. Vassallo. The senior currently resides in eighth place on Tech’s all-time career scoring list. He needs just 9 points to move into sixth place and pass Bob Ayersman (1957-61) and Zabian Dowdell (2004-07).

Vassallo from his freshman to his senior year has improved as much as any player in the country. His game is well-rounded and though he defense can still be suspect at times, look for A.D. to give his best effort in this one.


This game will be very close. The Hokies are virtually incapable of blowing out opponents and the Dukes are a very talented basketball team who will be ready to pull the upset.

The Hokies have history on their side however. Tech is at home where they are 10-5 this season. Tech is also 5-0 all-time against Duquesne at home and they lead the series 7-5.

The NIT has also been very kind to the Hokies over the years.

In the friendly confines of Cassell Coliseum Tech is 10-1 all-time in the NIT. Overall, the Hokies boast a 20-7 record in the tournament, winning it in 1973 and 1995.

Again, this will be a good game and should be close throughout. Ultimately, the Hokies have just a bit too much firepower.

Duquesne 72
Virginia Tech 75

NIT ROUND 1 Preview: UAB @ Notre Dame

UAB 21-11 (11-5 Conference USA)

Under former Indiana head coach Mike Davis, now in his second season at UAB, the Blazers have become one of only 2 or 3 teams to legitimately pose a threat to Memphis’ dominance of Conference USA.

The Blazers are coming off a tough loss in the Conference USA tournament semifinal where they fell to Tulsa 70-67.

Despite the loss, UAB has won 12 of its last 16 games and comes to South Bend with a great deal of confidence.

The Blazers are led by senior Robert Vaden who averaged 17.5 ppg and 5 rebounds. The athletic 6-5 guard/forward is effective off the ball but can also handle and distribute the rock.

Vaden is part of a trio of Blazers named All-Conference USA, who have over 1,000 career points. Guard Paul Delaney III averaged 16 ppg and 3.5 assists while forward Lawrence Kinnard added 14.2 ppg to go along with 9 rebounds.

Together, they form a potent “Big Three” that poses problems for the Irish both inside and out.

Notre Dame 18-14 (8-10 Big East)

Notre Dame is a team trending very much in the opposite direction. While UAB has won 12 of 16, the Irish lost 11 of the final 17 games, albeit against much stronger competition.

Obviously, for the Irish it all starts with junior forward Luke Harangody. The Irish big man averaged 23.3 ppg and 12 rebounds. He scored in double figures in all but two games this season.

In the post, Lawrence Kinnard will give up some 45 pounds to Harangody and an immeasurable amount of heart and toughness. Not to say he lacks those qualities, but Harangody is a truly special player and has them in abundance.

Even when their big man delivers, which he clearly does virtually every game, the Irish go as their shooting goes.

When Notre Dame’s trio of outside shooters in Kyle McAlarney, Ryan Ayers and Tory Jackson are hitting their shots, things go well.

All three averaged double figures in scoring this season and the team shot an impressive 40 percent from behind the 3-point arc. Most of that however, is thanks to McAlarney’s impressive 113 made three-pointers.


Notre Dame has a perceived depth problem this season. Whether that problem is real or imagined, coach Mike Brey certainly believes it. The aforementioned Irish players each logged over 1,000 minutes this season. The top man after that minutes-wise is senior Zach Hillesland with 750. No one else on the team has more than 500 though freshman guard/forward Tyrone Nash has come off the bench down the stretch to help some.

The Irish horses were ridden hard and put away wet this season, and that will catch up with them in this one.

If anyone gets worn down or in foul trouble, there isn’t anyone to turn to on Mike Brey’s bench. Even if there is, he probably wouldn’t put them in.

UAB is a talented and well-coached team fully capable of pulling the “upset” in this one. I put that in parentheses because I think the Blazers are the better team.

A fired up home crowd at the Joyce Center could give the Irish a lift. ND was 13-3 at home this season, but as Brian pointed out when we discussed it briefly yesterday, it’s Notre Dame on St. Patrick’s Day…there are other things to do.

UAB 80
Notre Dame 74

Sunday, March 15, 2009


All I have to say in response to my colleague's remarks earlier tonight is: you're right. I've got nothing.

I honestly thought about posting something several times this weekend. Yet every time I started to think about doing it a conference tournament game would return from commercial break and I would get hooked again.

Sadly, as Justin mentioned, neither of our beloved teams mustered enough fight to move off "the bubble" and into the NCAA tournament.

A little known fact - the NIT used to be THE top post-season college basketball tournament (because after all it is an invitational). If only that were still the case, Va Tech and ND would be feeling pretty good about their #2 seeds...

Come On Brian?!?!?!

I have returned from my trip to San Diego, CA only to find that in my time away Brian has been unable to post anything. Nothing. I know he's got a job and all, but I shall be on him as if I were the above horse and he the scampering dog.

Loads of stuff coming this week. Trip thoughts, crucial video game review and all the March Madness you can shake a stick at.

To start that discussion, neither Notre Dame or Virginia Tech were able to gain enough traction down the stretch to sneak into the Big Dance. Both teams will take their skills to the NIT.

No. 2 seed Virginia Tech will host No. 7 Duquesne Wednesday at 7 pm on ESPNU.

No. 2 seed Notre Dame hosts No. 7 UAB Tuesday at 9 pm on ESPN2.

We'll have full previews and recaps in due time.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Put Stephen Colbert In Space!

Portrait By Todd Lockwood

Nation, the other night on the Colbert Report, Stephen told his viewers to go to the NASA website and enter his name in the suggestion box for a contest to name a new node for the International Space Station. 

Colbert is currently number one among the suggested names, though it in no way fits the criteria they've listed. Still, I think it's worth the effort to keep voting on Stephen's behalf until the contest ends on March 20th. 

Below is the segment from the show explaining the importance and how he is in fact the new galactic overlord of Scientology. 

Also, who would have ever imagined a blog post that would include this assortment of tags?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

One More Michael Phelps Joke

Ok, so by now we all know about the Michael Phelps situation. All the crazy hype surrounding it was pretty silly from where I'm sitting. The included video seems to be one of the more rational rants on the subject I've seen, and it comes from Seth Meyers at the Weekend Update desk. 

He tackles the issue of Kellogg's pulling their sponsorship of Phelps and his suspension from the U.S. National team for 3-months.

I don't watch the show anymore. Like my strategy for the Oscars, I just wait for the good sketches to filter to me through the vast labyrinths of the Internet. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mendoza College of Business - #2 Undergraduate Business School According to Business Week

Photo Credit | Business Week

The University of Notre Dame business school, Mendoza College of Business, recently earned a #2 ranking by Business Week in a poll of the top undergraduate schools in the nation.

A new king atop the undergraduate business school rankings was crowned as former #1 University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Business School fell to #3. The Quakers held the #1 spot for the past 3 years, but were eclipsed in the latest rankings by new top dog University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commcerce. Sorry, Justin.

Outlined in the article here, the presence of an uncertain economy reveals why Notre Dame cult-hero - and resident Special Teams stud - Mike Anello will forgo an opportunity to start saving for his 401(k) this year.

Why stop at #2, though? I'm sure my colleague can agree with the following statement:

Go Irish, Beat Wahoos!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Blackberry Almost Takes Bite Out Of Apple

What follows is an ad that Blackberry parent company Research in Motion almost ran to target its push vs. Apple's iPhone.

Guava, hailing from New York City, is the creative mastermind behind this creative anti-Apple concept.

Wether you're an Apple aficionado or officially addicted to your Crackberry odds are you will enjoy the next 19 seconds you spend watching this video.

Unfortunately, you will never see this outside the Internet realm as, perhaps against better judgment, RIM decided against using the ad for its Blackberry Storm campaign.


I saw this a while ago and had sort of forgotten how great it was. The video is called "Validation", a short-film billed as a fable about the magic of free parking. It stars TJ Thyne, who is best known for his role as Dr. Jack Hodgins on the FOX series, Bones, which is pretty quality entertainment.

This 16-minute short has won multiple awards and is definitely worth a look.

ESPN Shows Irish Some Love

Mark this down as one of the few times ESPN has ever given ND positive press. Below is their new commercial for the "new" espn.com.

Current ND Leprechaun (Lepre-Juan) and Bob Golic give this spot quite the Irish vibe.


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