Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. DePaul Blue Demons: NCAA Basketball Free Pick

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(17-4, 9-7 ATS)

DePaul Blue Demons
(6-14, 9-10 ATS)

The DePaul Blue Demons have dropped 21 straight games in the Big East, but in college basketball betting action on Thursday night, they’ll have a chance to get rid of that dubious distinction when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish come to town.

The good news about the Fighting Irish is that they have won three games in row both SU and ATS. The bad news is that they haven’t played a game in over a week and a half and might be losing some mojo. There’s definitely a reason to believe that they could be coming down from the top now that they have to play DePaul and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a span of just a few days. Carleton Scott had a great performance with 16 points and nine boards against the Pitt Panthers last Monday, but he has a hamstring injury that is almost certain to keep him out of the lineup on Thursday. The good news is that Tim Abromaitis isn’t only going to score two points in this one like he did on the road last week. Ben Hansbrough was the man that just kept throwing dagger after dagger on the Panthers, and he is now averaging a team high 16.5 points per game this year. He’s certainly going to be the best player on the court, and this could once again be a showcase for one of the top stars in the Big East.

It’s been a very frustrating year for the Blue Demons, but this is going to feel like their Super Bowl, playing on national television against a Top 15 team in the country. They haven’t stuck within double digits in a game since January 4th, a stretch of five straight game. Needless to say, DePaul hasn’t covered a spread in that stretch as well. It has one of the worst defenses, not just in the Big East, but in the entire country as well. Allowing 74.7 points per game isn’t going to cut it, especially when it is allowing teams to shoot a stunning 48.5 percent from the field, ranking No. 340 in the land. There aren’t all that many great scorers on this team, but Cleveland Melvin is a real exception to the rule. Melvin averages 14.4 points per game, and he is a big time player in the paint. However, the fact that he is only averaging 4.7 boards per game is really a part of the lackluster rebounding effort that this team has as a whole. Melvin will need some help from Brandon Young and Tony Freeland, both of which have put up double digits in scoring per game on the campaign.

Again, we really can’t stress enough that this is a bad, bad spot for Notre Dame. Scott won’t be playing, and the team has to be coming down a notch. DePaul is going to be sky high for this one, and this just has the makings of an NCAA basketball betting upset on Thursday.

College Basketball Free Pick: DePaul Blue Demons

Reaching the middle on gay marriage ; Joanna Weiss

The Boston Globe (Boston, MA) April 8, 2012 WHEN RELIGION and politics mix, these days, the arguments often come down to who’s been most aggrieved. Are we seeing a “war on women” or a “war on religion”? Was Victoria Reggie Kennedy wronged when she was disinvited from a Catholic college, or was the bishop of Worcester wrong to be questioned on his faith?

And when it comes to gay marriage, who exactly are the bigots? see here gay marriage facts

That matter came up last week in the furor over a once-secret memo from the National Organization for Marriage, a major group opposed to gay marriage.

The years-old document, made public as part of a lawsuit in Maine, spelled out a plan to divide Democrats along racial lines. It proposed finding “glamorous young Latino and Latina leaders” to make opposition to gay marriage “a key badge of Latino identity.” And it laid out plans “to drive a wedge between gays and blacks” by rejecting the idea that gay marriage is a civil right.

The goal, the memo said, was “provoking the gay marriage base into . . . denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots.” Which would, presumably, look like a bigoted act.

This is the most striking thing about gay marriage debate: the way each side manages to wave the same banner of tolerance. Gay marriage proponents claim, with justification, that religious opposition is intolerant by nature; declare that God hates something, and there’s not much room for reasoned argument.

But then religious groups turn around and claim that that gay marriage proponents are being intolerant . . . of their intolerance.

In its head-spinning way, this is a nod to the power of the 1960s, said Alan Wolfe, a political science professor at Boston College. That era – which social conservatives often malign – “was all about groups being able to express their identity,” Wolfe told me. Now, conservative Christians express their views in terms of “right and fairness and tolerance. Both sides are using the same language.” Sometimes, religious stalwarts have a point. Recently, a social conservative complained to me about national sex columnist Dan Savage. Savage has done great things to build compassion for gay teens, but his tactics can also be dark – as in the time he invited readers to suggest a disgusting definition of “Santorum.” The winning definition shows up prominently on Google; it’s funny and pointed, but it’s also a low blow.

And it’s unlikely to sway any voter who matters, said Edward Schiappa, a communications professor at the University of Minnesota, who has studied the rhetoric used in gay marriage battles across the country.

In truth, Schiappa told me, when it comes to voters’ attitudes, bigotry and tolerance aren’t the only options. Plenty of people – what he calls “the squishy middle” – profess to be tolerant of gays, but say they don’t feel comfortable with marriage.

The question is how to swing them to your side. For gay marriage opponents, the answer has long been fear of change. In an upcoming edition of the journal “Argumentation & Advocacy,” Schiappa writes about the rhetoric used around Proposition 8, the referendum against gay marriage that passed in California in 2008. In one highly effective ad, a little girl comes home from school with a book called “King and King,” and announces, “We learned about a prince who married another prince. And I can marry a princess!” Cut to a shocked mother, then to an ominous warning: “Think it can’t happen? It’s already happened.” The opposition’s response ads didn’t work nearly as well, Schiappa said. Some suggested that Californians dislike intolerance. One showed a pair of Mormon missionaries knocking on the door of a lesbian couple and carrying out a home invasion. Schiappa notes that ads favoring gay marriage in New York last year often took a warmer, friendlier approach, showing adorable senior citizen couples, in love. this web site gay marriage facts

Familiarity breeds tolerance, Schiappa said – more effectively than claiming victimhood. As gay marriage referenda continue to roll across the country, supporters should take note. What if they met religious folks halfway – say, lifting salient quotes from the Bible, suggesting that gay marriage is something Jesus would support?

“That,” Schiappa said, “would be a good move.” In the end, it doesn’t matter who the bigots are. What matters is how the middle votes.

Joanna Weiss can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @JoannaWeiss.


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