At the end of today we’ll be hitting the midway point of the 2005 BSMW Fall Fund Drive. With just under $400 more today, we’ll hit the halfway point, halfway to the goal. Your support is much appreciated. I’ve updated the fund drive page to reflect a couple new prizes and the date for one of the pairs of tickets that were donated.

For the second time in two days, a post I was working on got wiped out. That never happens. Now it’s twice in a row. I’m furious. This will be a somewhat abbreviated version of the links, with the holiday and all.

The Globe has a huge college basketball preview today. As this is a passion of editor Joe Sullivan, he contributes to the section as well.

Jim Fennell looks at NH native Chris Carpenter winning the National League Cy Young award.

Gordon Edes looks at the Red Sox as a team in transition for the coming year. David Heuschkel has the Red Sox issuing a statement that it was solely Theo Epstein’s decision to leave the club. Michael Silverman reports on the Red Sox holding talks with Johnny Damon in an effort to bring the outfielder back to Boston. Silverman’s notebook says that we’re in the calm before the free agent storm right now.

Jerome Solomon looks Duane Starks being placed on IR by the Patriots yesterday. The Patriots struggles on defense have been well documented, John Tomase looks at the problems that the offense has been facing as well. Jim Donaldson notes that the Patriots are playing the type of defense that hasn’t been seen around these parts in a long time. And that’s not a good thing. Alan Greenberg has more on the defense. Christopher Price has Tom Brady looking to bounce back strong this weekend.

Michael Parente’s notebook has Troy Brown’s “passion” comments getting reaction from his teammates. Ian M Clark’s notebook has more on Starks and the other injuries hurting the Patriots right now. Tomase’s notebook has an update (sort of) on Richard Seymour. Solomons’ notebook says that the opponent, not the heat, is what will be tough for the Patriots on Sunday.

Jim McCabe and Jim Lazar have their weekly NFL picks. I.M. Bettor and Double D also weigh in on the weekend action. Patrick Hanrahan and Steve Britt file fantasy columns.

The Celtics face the World Champion Spurs tonight at the Garden. Maybe changing the name of the place from the FleetCenter will improve the chances of beating Tim Duncan’s team. Something the Celtics have never done since losing the big man in the lottery to San Antonio. Bob Ryan looks at the Celtics long streak of futility against the Spurs, noting that in the old days, this was the type of streak that the Celtics held over a number of clubs. Steve Bulpett has more on the Celtics trying to avoid their 16th straight loss to the Spurs. Shira Springer looks at Doc Rivers still setting his rotation. Bulpett has a short blurb on Kendrick Perkins turning 21 yesterday. The local paper in San Antonio notes that the Spurs have been a little sloppy at times early this year, just due to the turnover on the roster. Bulpett’s notebook looks at Paul Pierce learning to trust his teammates.

Karen Guregian, Joe McDonald and Nancy Marrapese Burrell report on the Bruins latest loss, a 5-2 setback at the hands of the Ottawa Senators. Mick Colageo and Fluto Shinzawa look at the debut of Alexei Zhamnov. Steve Buckley looks at Andrew Raycroft, who was not sharp in his return from injury. Shinzawa also looks at how the new NHL has benefited Dave Scatchard.

David Scott checks in with this weekly edition of Scott’s Shots, with more Theo, more Howard Bryant and some other news and notes from around the world of radio, print, TV and internet media. Jim Baker looks back at the Patriots Monday night broadcast and has some other local media items. Bill Griffith checks in with a look at a man with ALS competing in the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon to raise awareness of the disease. He also has some local media items. Clea Simon in the Globe reports on another honor for WEEI as Program Director Jason Wolfe receives an award.

An interesting column in the Daily Standard by Sonny Bunch places blame on ESPN for the lousy sports columns you get in the papers these days.

FSN has Celtics/Spurs at 7:30. ESPN has Lakers/Sixers at 8:00 and Pistons/Blazers at 10:30. NESN has UNH/BU Hockey at 7:00. ESPN2 has Rutgers/Louisville college football at 8:00.