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Notre Dame Fighting Irish (24-7) vs. George Mason Patriots (23-10)
When: Thursday, 9:40 p.m.
Where: Denver


1. Thank God We Don't Need a Shirt Solidarity Day. It is no secret that last fall Notre Dame football was pretty dismal. After an 0-3 start, I received the following email from Student Government:

We all know that this year's football season has not begun as we would have liked. Rough losses at home and on the road have left the nation wondering what has happened to Notre Dame football. The national media has portrayed our season as over and our team as the worst team in the NCAA. It is time for this negativity to end.

This is our team. Those are our friends, our classmates, and our roommates. It is time that we rally around our team and show them that we support them through thick and thin. This Thursday, September 20th, we encourage everyone to wear The Shirt as a sign of solidarity and support for the football team. As it says on the front, we can come "together as one," and battle the adversity of an 0-3 start. The season is still young and by no means over. Let's put the first three games behind us, and prepare for this weekend.


At least basketball is doing well enough so as not to necessitate one of these "morale boosters."

2. George Clooney Loves ND Basketball! He's nominated for an Oscar, yet he still finds time to watch Notre Dame and tell Regis that they were up at the half. Clearly God and George Clooney are on our side and I'm not sure which one I like better. (Kidding. It's totally Clooney).

3. Rooting for Notre Dame is Rooting Against ESPN. By now we are all familiar with Dana Jacobson's "f*ck Notre Dame...and touchdown Jesus...and regular Jesus" rant. It took place at the Mike & Mike roast, which also featured such "distinguished" "talents" as Trey Wingo, Mark Schlereth, Charlie Weis, Dick Vitale and Frank Caliendo. Since Weis is only associated with the football program (and eating), rooting for ND basketball is ostensibly rooting against the WWL Overlords. Go Irish! — Andrea Reiher



1. They've Been There. All right, so "experience" is incredibly overrated; after all, the Mason team that made the Final Four run had none of it whatsoever. But having been there is better than not having been there, right? Still on this team from the '06 run is point guard Folarin Campbell (no relation to Jason), and much more important, forward Will Thomas, who is - in my humble opinion - the best player in the conference. If you'll recall, Thomas was the guy who outplayed some kid from UConn named Rudy Gay in the regional final.


2. F— It, I'm Expecting Them to Win. When I wrote these here tidbits about Mason for Deadspin two years ago, I absolutely didn't expect Mason to win their first round game. They were playing Michigan State — who had the likes of Shannon Brown, Maurice Ager and Paul Davis - without their point guard Tony Skinn, who was suspended for punching a player in the man-bits during the CAA tourney. This year, they won the CAA tourney without uppercutting anyone in the balls, they're healthy, on fire, and —- as previously mentioned - experienced. This isn't some bull 15 seed. This is a team that can play with anyone (except UNC. They're good). Especially if that someone is a Big Ten team. Or Notre Dame.


3. Santa Claus Is Some Bull. My favorite Patriot is easily guard Andre Leaward LaVaé Smith, based solely on his name. A 26-year-old undergrad buddy of mine and Dre were in the same NCLC 375 class last semester. NCLC 375 is better known as Hip-Hop Literacies. The topic of discussion one day was "urban myths." Some genius in the class offered up "Christmas" as a myth. The teacher responded with something to the affect of, "Well, Christmas itself isn't a myth, it's real, but I suppose Santa Claus would be considered an urban myth." An eager-to-impress student disagrees: "Well, actually St. Nicholas was a real person who dropped treats down people's chimneys in the Old Country," Dre, for the first time all semester, raises his hand: "Not in my hood!"

The point here is that Andre Leaward LaVaé Smith ain't lookin' for no hand-outs, because in his hood, shit doesn't come free. You have to earn your treats. — Chris Mottram


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