Shanoff's W.U.C.: Bracket, Schilling, WBC

Today's Calls: Toxic Assets vs. Toxic Brackets, Curt Schilling vs. the Hall of Fame, Japan vs. the World, Jason Smith vs. Matt Stafford, Gilbert Arenas vs. Jonny Flynn, Lance Armstrong vs. His Clavicle and More ↵The Opening Pitch: When the Selection Committee is leading the office pool, the NCAA Tournament is broken. ↵

↵But that sentiment summarizes yesterday's argument. Today, I have a bigger issue on my mind: ↵

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↵After the weekend debacle, my bracket is a "toxic asset" within the office pool. And so I am looking for a bail-out, inspired by the government plan released yesterday. ↵

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↵First, the government is going to find some wealthy office-pool hedge-fund investors to buy into my busted bracket. The government will put up 85 percent of my pool entry fee, hoping to entice investors to pony up the other 15 percent and actively manage my bracket. ↵

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↵Sure, my bracket is worthless now, but with the right kind of circumstances, I could still theoretically win the pool. I mean: It's not mathematically impossible. ↵

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↵If I end up winning the pool, the investors make a healthy return. If I don't win the pool, the investors don't lose anything -- because the government supplied most of the capital to buy my toxic bracket. ↵

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↵Ah, if only office pools really DID work like the government... ↵

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↵NCAA Tournament Link Round-Up: ↵

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↵• 1-1-1-1-2-2-2-2-3-3-3-3-4-4-5-12. (Oh, stop griping!) ↵

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↵• Zags over UNC? Think 2006. ↵

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↵• Xavier is the new Gonzaga. ↵

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↵• Villanova's leader? Not one of the guards. ↵

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↵• NCAA TV ratings are up. (Does that even include online views?) ↵

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↵• NIT: Patty Mills > Stephen Curry ↵

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↵NFL Draft: Is Jason Smith the Lions' guy? The Baylor OT makes more sense than a QB like Matt Stafford or Mark Sanchez, neither of whom qualify as "franchise" QBs. Detroit coach Jim Schwartz already indicated that he thinks rebuilding from the lines outward is the way to go. ↵

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↵Curt Schilling retires: A lucrative career as a TV analyst awaits -- but does the Hall of Fame? I like to gently mock Schilling as the biggest media manipulator in sports -- which will help his H.O.F. chances, btw -- but I actually would vote him in. Bloody sock, people! ↵

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↵(By the way: Anyone else think that Schilling will "pull a Favre" and, midseason, announce his intention to come back to help a playoff team down the stretch run? If he does, you can be sure he will use his blog -- which, btw, is arguably the best athlete blog out there.) ↵

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↵WBC: Japan wins back-to-back titles. And it feels like fans in the U.S. care about this second one just about as much as they did about the first one. (Yes, I'm sure fans in Japan are thrilled, but count me among those cynics who recognized that the WBC had zero traction in the U.S. -- and not just because the U.S. didn't win the title.) ↵

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↵Women's NCAA Tournament: 7-seed Rutgers KO's 2-seed Auburn. Why shouldn't that surprise you? Because, for some reason, Auburn was forced to play Rutgers in north New Jersey -- in the Scarlet Knights' backyard. ↵

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↵NBA Instant History: Who else has missed Gilbert Arenas this season? Agent Zero taking the floor -- perhaps as early as Saturday -- would be the only good thing to happen to the Wizards in what has otherwise been the worst season in franchise history. (True to the theme, don't be surprised if Arenas injures himself while doing it.) ↵

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↵NFL Owners Meeting: Besides the fact that the owners are staying at the same posh hotel resort that the AIG (um: AIU?) execs infamously stayed at, the big news is that the NFL regular season will almost definitely be extending to 17 or 18 games. Gotta follow the money, folks. (And it's great for NFL fans.) ↵

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↵NBA Draft: Jonny Flynn returning to Syracuse next year. Ink him as a preseason 1st-team All-America for 2009-2010, and he has recently emerged as the most dynamic player in the country at just the right moment for the Orange. ↵

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↵Tour de Lance: Aaack! ↵

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↵T.O. and A-Rod: If you care about either, T.O. skipped the voluntary workouts with his new team (are you even surprised?) and A-Rod's rehab appears to be going well (wouldn’t you be surprised if Joe Girardi said anything else?) ↵

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↵Coaching Carousel: Is VCU's Anthony Grant going to jump back to Alabama and the SEC, where he was a top assistant to Florida's Billy Donovan before leading the Rams to three years of success? The Tide has permission to talk with him -- they would be crazy not to offer top dollar to get him. As I said before: If I could pick any coach to run my college hoops program, it would be Grant. (Don't Georgia and/or Virginia want to have a say in this?) ↵

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↵Economy: Marlins get new Miami ballpark. OK, so will the team finally spend on talent like a team that isn't holding its host city hostage that it could leave at any moment? (Not that Marlins fans should be complaining: Two championships in 12 years is not too shabby.) ↵

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↵Video Games: No "EA NCAA Football '10" for the Wii? (Wii!T!F!?) I had the '09 version, and -- yeah -- the game play doesn't compare to the PS3 or Xbox. But there has to be a way to make a fun Wii-ified version of a college football game. Wii fans are die-hard college football fans, too! ↵

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↵Must-Read: Mike Florio's 10-Pack on how the NFL owners can fix the league while lounging around during their meeting this week. ↵

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↵Media: Still hoping the NFL will finally make Sunday Ticket available to your cable operator? Ain't. Gonna. Happen. (At least through 2014.) It's like a race to see what repressive cabal ends first: The BCS or DirecTV's hold on NFL Sunday Ticket. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "He's our quarterback. We can't predict the future. He's our quarterback, we want him to be our quarterback, we made that very clear to him and we hope he feels the same way." -- Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, trying to gain Costanza-like "hand" over Jay Cutler through the media. ↵

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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff. ↵ ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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