Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday's throwdowns

Villanova 90, Notre Dame 72: another loss on the road against a very good team for Notre Dame. No surprise, but...again, the Irish have to learn to stay focused and to defend. ND trailed only by 1 at halftime; but were outscored by 17 in the 2nd half. They allowed Villanova to shoot just a tad under 50%. And ND was only 19 of 30 at the free throw line. Notre Dame MUST win at Rutgers this weekend...
But the news for the Irish was better on the women's side, as the ND women beat Providence, 84-59. They're now 18-1 on the season and should remain ranked in the top 5 nationally. 5 players for Notre Dame scored in double figures in the game, and the Irish bench provided 31 points. This team is deep and can wear you down; that could be a big help in March.

As for President Obama's State of the Union speech last night, this from the NY Times seems to be a sensible analysis, and represents a good deal of the commentary I've read today so far:
" the midterm elections approach, there is little reason to expect that that the partisan divide will narrow. So the gamble underlying Mr. Obama’s speech seems to be that he can muddle through the November elections with perhaps 20 or 30 lost seats in the House, and a handful in the Senate, and avoid the kind of rout that led Mr. Clinton to declare the end of the big government era....To Mr. Obama’s rivals on the right, the president’s unwillingness to move at all from his agenda creates his vulnerability. “Perhaps the most striking aspect of last night’s speech,” wrote Peter Wehner, a former political strategist for President Bush and an aide to Karl Rove, “was that Obama spoke as if the last year hadn’t happened; as if he had not been president; and as if Congress had not been controlled by Democrats. He sought to portray himself as an outsider and reformer, an antidote to cynicism, and a postpartisan, unifying force.” In fact, that is exactly what he attempted, much as he did in the campaign. So what has changed? Perhaps the biggest change is that in the past few months, Mr. Obama has seen the passion of his own political base wither. His Afghanistan decision was deeply unpopular with the most activist of his 2008 supporters — the Democratic left, the students and twentysomethings. While the White House argues that Democrats are over-reading the results of the special election in Massachusetts — Mr. Emanuel argues the election would have been won if Democrats and the White House had paid sufficient attention — clearly Mr. Obama lost touch with the independents who voted for him a year ago. They made the difference for the Republican candidate, Scott Brown, in the Senate race. So Mr. Obama’s biggest challenge in the next few weeks may be overcoming the fears, and perhaps the inertia, of his own party. Yet the speech conveyed little of the sense of urgency he brought to the same chamber when he gave his first address to a joint session of Congress a year ago. At that time, he laid out a legislative agenda for the year. This time, he offered no timeline, no deadline, for resolving the health care debate. Nor did he on financial reform."