Thursday, January 31, 2008

Happy Birthday

Harangody had a monster 31 points and 14 rebounds, Kurz dropped 11, and Ayers added 10 with his much needed energy off the bench, but Tory Jackson was the player of the game tonight. Jackson, who turned 20 years old yesterday, scored 14 points and dished out seven assists, adding some key hustle plays to help the Irish extend their home winning streak to 32 games.

Harangody made two clutch free throws to tie the game with 18 seconds to go; the fans would have held their breath for the Friar's last possession if they weren't screaming. Focused on not allowing Providence their last shot, Jackson quickly stole the ball and heaved up a desperation shot (which almost went in) to push the game into overtime. In the extra period, Jackson assisted Notre Dame's first four field goals and proceeded to score the next five points, which included sinking 3 out of 4 free throws to give his team a 6 point lead.

Jackson, who also had a nice steal in overtime, seemed to finally get some of his swagger back after the contest. Only a 45% free throw shooter for the season, it was comforting for everyone when his shots began to fall at the end of the night. To say that Tory had a better free throw shooting night than Providence center Ray Hall, however, might be one of the biggest understatements of the century. Hall missed on his third free throw after being thrown off by some look-related-insults from the student section and was so frustrated that he air-balled his next attempt. After that, a merciless chorus of "Airrr Ballll" chants was heard every time he went to the line; Hall missed his next six attempts (including one that could have been a Friar game winner) as he worked his way to 2 of 10 on the day. Sticks and stones, Ray...
The Irish are now alone in second place in the Big East with a 5-2 record; only the Hoyas of Georgetown (7-1) are ahead. Black out night against DePaul on Saturday looks like its gonna be fun. Go Irish!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Irish Tame Wildcats

I couldn't tell if it was inserting Hillesland in the starting lineup or if Brey put something in the water, but the Irish for the first time this season were able to establish a commanding rhythm on the road, shooting 50% from the floor and 43% from beyond the arc while taking down Villanova in the Wachovia Center.
The game started off fairly sloppily; Nova players especially seemed to have trouble handling the ball as they threw it away several times in the first half, and the Irish capitalized, jumping out to a quick lead that they held for almost the entire contest. K-Mac (30 pts) was soaking wet, at times pulling up 2 feet outside of the NBA 3-point line to stroke down 3's, and it seemed like all of Harangody's (25 pts 10 boards) points came from converting his own 3-point plays.

Mike Brey decided to start Zach Hillesland instead of Ryan Ayers, and it brought out the best in both of them. Ayers had 10 points and 5 rebounds; Hillesland only had 2 points, but they came on a fantastic putback dunk. Peoples also contributed, adding 2 points and playing some good defense. Brey finally got Nash into a Big East game, but it was only for 3 seconds at the end of the first half.

As the game winded down to the last 3 minutes and the Irish began to run the clock, things began to get sloppy, and Notre Dame surrendered some easy points and had some ugly turnovers that shouldn't have happened. However, the bottom line is that previously 18th ranked Villanova was handed its second Big East loss of the week while ND moved to 4-2 in conference play, putting them in a tie for second place.

Hat's off to the Irish, and hopefully they can continue to have good sex in the Big East.

Video compliments of

Friday, January 25, 2008

I'd Like to Thank the Academy

The blogging community likes to take some time during the dull offseason to pat each other on the backs, and those that receive more props than others wind up with a prestigious 10 kilobyte College Football Blog Award. So if the Australian Open or the Winter X-Games aren't doing it for you, check out Every Day Should Be Saturday and read up on the history of CFB. In an effort to issue some props to the blogs I enjoy reading, here's a quick rundown of the Nasties ballot for this year.

Best MSM Blog: Michael Rothstein of Irish Insights gets my vote for the best "official journalist" writing for his timely and accurate reporting.

Funniest Blog: The House Rock Built, puts up quality posts from the most recent All-Hairmerican team to quality excuses for infrequent posting, this site usually gives me a good chuckle.

Keith Jackson Award: Subway Domer scores some points here for the blog that can turn out a few devastatingly funny phrases while simultaneously writing compelling posts. This award isn't for copy editing; "it's an award for kickin' prose."

Brady Quinn Award: Rakes of Mallow earns this award for best looking site just because it breaks up the repetitive format of all the blogspot sites I visit, although after Laws gets his site running, I could see it performing well in this category.

Best New Blog: Wake Up The Echoes provides great recruiting coverage and campus insight - a fitting choice for the blog created since the end of last year's national championship.

The Old Faithful Award: Irish Roundup gets my vote for this one. It's supposed to be for the best recurring feature of the year; I initially thought it read recruiting (which IR would most def win for its Friday Night Lights posts), but hell, they write so well I had to nominate them for something.

There was also this other Notre Dame blog called The Blue Gray Sky, which earned multiple awards to the point that I should list them off all at once:

The Dr. Z Award for best statistical manipulation and analysis.
The Job Award for documenting the most disappointing season in the most professional manner.
Best Community for the blog with the best community interaction.
Mythical National Champion for the best blog. period.

That's it for today Nasties crew. If you would like to vote yourself for some of these awards, give it a shot yourself by clicking here. Have a good weekend and Go Irish!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Maintenance / Quote Post

I've noticed recently that there have been a few good ND athlete alumni blogs popping up around the web, so I thought that I would share them with our loyal readers; check out the links under "Player Blogs." If anyone knows of any other good ones out there, you can let me know using the new "Contact" link found on the sidebar. I recommend everyone check out Trevor Laws' new web site if for nothing more than to look at the cool background.
Now that the maintenance stuff is done with, its time to move onto some actual sports news.

the hardwood, Mike Brey has said that he is considering mixing up the lineup for the upcoming Villanova game. I don't think he means benching McAlarney or Bam Bam, but I wouldn't be surprised if Jackson and Ayers began playing a little less to give more time to Peoples (and hopefully Nash). Whatever players that will be on the court will need to bring it; Nova is coming off of an unexpected loss to Rutgers last night, and they should be fired up when it comes time to host the Irish.

ving towards recruiting, Urban Meyer may be in some trouble for illegally recruiting junior college receiver Carl Moore. The basic story goes something like this:

wasn't too interested in moving to the swamp, so Meyer began contacting his girlfriend, offering her a scholarship to do gymnastics for the Gators. Eventually, the girl was convinced and Carl soon followed. However, it is against NCAA violations for the coach of one sport to recruit for another. Additionally, Meyer constantly calling Maranda Smith (the gymnast) would have violated the stipulation that gymnastic recruits can only be called once a week. This story requires me to put up our favorite Meyer picture.
In other recruiting news, it looks like DT Omar Hunter has officially jumped ship, verbally committing to (guess who) Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators. I personally would have loved to see Omar in the blue and gold next season, but now that he's officially with an enemy squad, it seems like it's time to open up on his Irish debunking. Press Register reporter Neal McCready writes:

"Omar Hunter and Urban Meyer should be able to relate quite well to one another.
Meyer once fell in love with Notre Dame before ultimately spurning the Fighting Irish for the sunshine of Florida. Hunter has now done the same thing."

Here's another opinion from Aaron Taylor:

"if you ask me about just how big a loss Omar Hunter will turn out to be, as a buddy of mine did recently … well, I’ll have to be honest and tell you, “Who knows?” What I can tell you about Omar is that it’s clear that he’s not a very good decision maker, so let’s wish him well. Besides, once he’s done playing football he can always go back to ITT Tech or DeVry Truck Driving School and finish his degree."
Continuing with the Irish alumni theme of this post, this week's quote also comes from Taylor, which comments on his 1990 recruiting class and its similarities to the upcoming class:

"That class was truly special, and not just because we went 40-8, including Notre Dame’s last three bowl wins (I still can’t believe that when I write it). No, it was special because we all formed an instant, tightly knit bond ... a bond that has lasted to this day among many of us. And as talented as the incoming class is, it’s the bond between them that has me more excited than anything else.
Instead of running from adversity, these guys are running to the rescue. You’ve got to love that, and the combination of attitude, talent and hunger could take these kids a long way. Or at least it should."

Go Irish

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Basketball Team Moves Up

Notre Dame moved up from an 8 seed to a 7 seed in ESPN's practically meaningless bracketology page despite taking heavy beatings from Marquette and Georgetown in the last week. This is due mostly to a very helpful rise in ND's RPI, but what makes the losses causes for some concern is that after Marquette beat Notre Dame by 26, they were blown out by 20 at Louisville. Similarly, after Georgetown thumped the Irish, they were taken into overtime by Syracuse last night, proving that while these teams looked dominant against Notre Dame, they are by no means unbeatable teams, and arguably, they are not even superior in the Big East.
The bottom line is that Notre Dame's poor play on the road (to be fair, the entire Big East has experienced major difficulties on the road this season) has lead to the team getting blown out by teams that other schools in the conference have found a way to beat. The Irish should use their practice time wisely before squaring off at Villanova on Saturday; another disastrous road loss could begin to weigh in heavily when it comes to Selection Sunday.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Road Woes

Notre Dame fell at the hands of the Georgetown Hoyas Saturday by a score of 84 - 65. Giving a new feel to the term "cold," the Irish shot just above 30% from the floor and only connected on 7 of their 25 three point attempts. 7'2" center Roy Hibbert made the game extremely difficult for Harangody; the sophomore fouled out with 13 points, but was only 3 of 13 from the field.
It wasn't until sometime in the second half that Notre Dame adjusted its defense on Hibbert, who scored a game high 21 points with an efficient 7 for 11 shooting effort. Originally, the Irish let him get the ball and relied on help crashing down from the top of the key, but Hibbert's tall frame and finesse game continued to dominate over the small Irish defense. In the second half, Brey decided to start "fronting" Hibbert a little, attempting to prevent him from touching the ball. This seemed to slightly throw Georgetown out of rhythm, but at that point the game was almost out of reach; it's hard to come back when you can't score...

Notre Dame may have shot poorly, but it was in a large part to the stifling defense played by the Hoyas. Showing why they are #6 in the country, they dominated by shutting down Kyle McAlarney and Harangody. Up to this point in the season (and it has been apparent when looking at the box scores), Notre Dame's offense has run largely through those two players, so it was a big problem when they were taken out of the game. Even though the starters weren't accomplishing much and the Irish were down 20, however, Brey didn't sub any freshmen in until there was less than a minute in the game. Abromaitis hit two free throws in the garbage time, but it is my opinion that the team missed another great opportunity to develop its young players.
For my final two cents, I'd like to point out the one bright spot in the loss: the play of sophomore guard Jonathan Peoples. This player gets some flak from the fan base because he doesn't look quite as polished in his ball handling or shooting as the players around him, but the People's Court was in session Saturday, dropping 12 points (5/6 shooting) in only 11 minutes of play. At one point, Peoples showed off his pumps skills by rebounding a K-Mac missed 3 and slamming it home with one hand; after losing Russell Carter, it was fun to see a powerful putback again. Hopefully he'll learn to build off of this game and give the Irish another scoring threat.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Quote of the Week

Man, getting to this quote of the week has been killing me recently. I don't know if its been the break combined with the first week of classes or if I've just been eating too many Taquitos...
Anyways, here you have it; fresh off of the Shark's blog:

"I'm not a history guy, but I dont think ND has ever had that many true freshman and soph on the field at one time. The o-line, which is probably the most important spot on the field, had all first and second year players. I remember back in high school when I started as a true freshman...We were a super young team with mainly soph and junior players. My good friend was the QB and also a freshman. We were the first true freshman to ever start on varsity at Valpo High. With that being said, we got destroyed all season. The papers were all over us as the worst Valpo team ever, and why would a team start so many young guys? We heard it all. Well what happened our junior and senior years? We made it to the State and Semi-State finals. Go figure. So just hang in there ND fans, you'll be impressed with these guys soon enough..."

Amen. Go Irish.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Irish Down Bearcats

The officiating was bad, the shooting was ugly, and the defensive rebounding was God awful. When Cincinnati took a 34 - 27 lead going into halftime, it looked as if the Irish could not rebound from the beating they took against Marquette last weekend. However, the home crowd (which included Heisman winner John Lattner) and the Leprechaun Legion were able to wake up some echoes in the second half, during which ND scored 64 points to overcome the Bearcats of Cincinnati.
The key momentum swing in the game happened with about 18 minutes left in the second half, where the Irish sparked an 18 - 4 run over the next four minutes to take control of the game. The run began with a powerful three point play from Harangody. In an attempt to get his team back in the game, Brey switched to a full court press, which paid off minutes later when Ayers intercepted an inbounds pass and laid it in for two easy points. The Irish continued to execute the press well, forcing Cincinnati to turn the ball over on their next possession, capitalizing on their mistake with a McAlarney three. 13 of Harangody's game high 25 points came during the run.

The 91 - 74 victory, coupled with strong performances by McAlarney (22 points, 5-8 3pFGs) and Kurz (17 points, 10 boards) may seem like a very solid win for Notre Dame, but there were a few glaring weaknesses on display last night. Cincinnati's bench outscored the Irish 40 - 16, primarily because Notre Dame only brought 3 players off of the bench the entire game. Peoples, Hillesland, and Zeller all contributed about 10 minutes (and added some timely shooting and change of pace for the offense), but this game illustrated the need for Brey to start developing his freshmen quickly; in the event of an injury, foul out, or overtime, the squad is extremely thin.

Ball handling
once again looked like a concern last night. McAlarney had more turnovers than assists, and while Jackson was able to pick up 8 dimes, he did so at the cost of 5 turnovers. All together, ND gave up the ball 15 times; better than their 24 against Marquette, but definitely an area to improve on in the near future.

Lastly, Cincinnati
was seemingly able to grab offensive boards at will against the Irish, and the defensive rebounds we did come away with looked awfully sloppy. Especially against bigger teams, Notre Dame needs to learn how to box out and control the paint, or we could be in big trouble against Roy Hibbert and Georgetown on January 19th.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Back And Ready

I have to apologize once again for the absence of posts on the Nasties blog, but I was busy for the last week shredding some narly powder in the mountains out west.

The Nasties crew sans Pops from Big Sky, Montana

Against the better judgement of the school, I've been asked back for another semester of classes. So as I prepare to drop some hefty cash in the bookstore, I'll take the opportunity to create some new reading for all of the blog starved Domers out there.

Critics of the current BCS system were supplied with plenty of evidence to support a playoff system this year; the only close major bowl involved VaTech beating the Jayhawks. I was personally a fan of the pre-BCS system where the champion was decided after the major bowl games had been played. It is in my opinion that the playoff system would just make things too messy. For those of you who disagree with me, however, the OC Domer offers a pretty interesting alternative here. The basic premise is that the winners of the six major conferences and the two highest ranked non-bcs conference are seeded against each other in an eight team playoff; something the talking heads at ESPN are sure to be talking about forever.


In recruiting news, it seems that Urban Meyer's loss to unranked Michigan (coupled with post game comments that seemed to place blame on everyone but himself) is having some affect on his incoming recruits. The Rock Report sums up this situation pretty well. Also in recruiting news, Rich Rodriguez's offense has been recently criticized for its inability to create NFL ready players. Michigan transfer Ryan Mallet especially seemed irked by the offense he decided not to play in, questioning RR's coaching by saying, "How many guys have run the spread and not made it past college?"

Irish news around the horn includes Blue Gray Sky issuing some props to Ian Williams for being named a Freshman All-American and also congratulates the team for being smart. The Sporting News predicts that JC will be a breakout performer in 2008, but understandably so says that Weis, despite his hefty buyout, is on the hot seat next season.

Poor shooting from beyond the arc, too many turnovers, and an inability to maintain any momentum led to the men's team getting properly thumped by Marquette over the weekend. Fortunately, the Irish have a chance to rebound against Cincinnati tomorrow evening, and I'm praying that my lab that is during the game will be cancelled so I can cheer them on properly.

If you're still looking for a little football fix, check out Box's Blog from the Sporting News where he gives out a list of 'best of's' from the 2007 season. If that isn't enough reason to check it out, each award is accompanied with a YouTube clip.

Lastly, I'de like to give a shout out to recent transfer Munir Prince. His good work ethic on and off the field made him the kind of guy you point to when describing what a student athlete should be. Best of luck to you at Missouri.

Keep it real Domers. Beat Bearcats!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

QB Debuts and Recruiting News

Hey all you Nasties fans. Pops is back from a brief New Years vacation and ready to hop back on the keyboard and type out some Irish info. Firstly, my pilgrimage to the First State prevented me from witnessing Brady Quinn’s NFL debut, so I had to settle for this nice recap from UHND. The link also offers a youTube clip of Quinn’s first drive. Notice the crowd's enthusiasm every time he touches the ball.
On the recruiting trail, most of you have probably figured out by now that Omar Hunter, a previous verbal commit and amazing nose tackle, has jumped ship, presumably leaving the Irish for Darth Meyer’s squad in Gainesville. There are likely a few Domers who feel betrayed, but I feel that South Bend Tribune writer Jeff Carroll summed up this incident the best:

“As long as this development doesn't foreshadow a mass exodus of this class, the Irish are still in great shape for signing day. Notre Dame-Omar Hunter was a marriage that wasn't meant to last. Why force it?”

In totally unrelated news, Her Loyal Sons put up a nice translation of some of Urban Meyer’s quotes following his bowl loss to U of M. Here’s a comment from reader Vincent Franco to give you some advanced perspective:
“Being a florida resident I listened to his interview live…the radio interviewer was looking for some love for the departing seniors…four or five years of tough practices and a lot of wins in the program…Meyer shocks the guy with his response…absolutely cold hearted…ice cold…I was really surprised…he really doesn’t care about those kids unless you are a star…”

It seems that Weis has already moved on from the loss of Hunter, offering Rivals four star defensive tackle Mike Martin. Previously committed to Michigan, it appears as if Martin has been waiting on the call from Notre Dame for quite some time, and as of right now, it looks like the Irish lost one D-tackle to gain another.
Also a wrestler in high school, Martin should ad some depth to the Irish trenches next year

For those of you not fully up to speed with the incoming recruiting class, the US Army All -American Bowl (January 5th) will give a chance to watch 18 of ND’s incoming recruits compete with some of the best in the country. Future Irish running back Jonas Gray has been keeping a diary of his experience of the competition, and it is definitely worth a read. Gray missed practice on Tuesday with a shaken up ankle, but he has still been able to offer readers insight on some of the incoming Irish players:

“Some guys impressed me like John Goodman. I thought he did pretty well.”

“I was able to see Terrelle Pryor and Dayne Crist go head-to-head and I think Dayne got the best of him”
Best of luck to Jonas: ND Nation wishes you a speedy recovery.

Lastly, the Quote of the Week segment got last Thursday off to spend some time with its family, so today Charlie’s Nasties is happy to give some words of wisdom from early enrollee Sean Cwynar. Offering his thoughts on being a part of the number 1 ranked 2008 recruiting class, Cwynar said, "On paper this class looks like it's going to put us over the top and get us to the next level," Cwynar said. "That's where Notre Dame football should be. I think it's going to really be great. We're going to be great as a class."

Here's hoping you're right Sean. Go Irish.