Shanoff's W.U.C.: Duke Losing Would Be Sweet

Today's Calls: UConn vs. Purdue, Pitt vs. Xavier, Memphis vs. Mizzou, Duke vs. Nova, Dwight Howard vs. Paul Pierce, Aaron Curry vs. Brian Orakpo, Michael Vick vs. the Department of Labor and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Can someone please help me get this chalky taste out of my mouth? ↵

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↵I said: "The Tournament playing to seed form is lame." You said: "Don't you want to see the best playing the best?" ↵

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↵How far do you want that to go? Do you want all four 1-seeds in the Final Four, like last year? I don't. And I don't want to see all the regional finals going 1-vs.-2, either. ↵

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↵So what are the chances we see an upset in tonight's batch of games? ↵

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↵7:07 1 UConn* vs. 5 Purdue (West@Glendale) ↵
↵How much of a distraction will THIS be? ↵

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↵7:27 1 Pitt* vs. 4 Xavier (East@Boston) ↵
↵Pitt doesn't blow teams out; X-Men been here before. ↵

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↵9:37 2 Memphis* vs. 3 Missouri (West@Glendale) ↵
↵If both teams run it up into the 90s, it's anyone's game. ↵

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↵9:57 2 Duke vs. 3 Villanova* (East@Boston) ↵
↵Pleasepleasepleaseplease beat Duke. ↵

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↵Is 3-over-2 really that much of an upset? No. But Nova has the best shot at upending the chalk -- they play a smaller, guard-heavy style just like Duke ... only Nova does it slightly better, faster and deeper. I was really impressed by the way the Cats dismantled UCLA. ↵Let's root for an end to the Tyranny of the Chalk. Bouncing Duke in the process would simply be a bonus. ↵

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↵CBB Must-Read: Mike DeCourcy's "Starting Five," including why Cuse-Okla is the can't-miss game of the round of 16, why Wake was the Tournament's biggest disappointment, why UConn may not make it to Monday and more. This is Mike's time of year, folks. ↵

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↵NBA: Magic edge Celtics, both on the court and in the standings. If the Celtics didn't have home-court advantage throughout the East playoffs last year, they would not have won the NBA title -- heck, they may not have gotten out of the 1st round with the Hawks. ↵

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↵So what does that say about their chances at a repeat if they have to go through both Orlando and Cleveland, just to get back to the NBA Finals -- where the Lakers want nothing more than to punish Boston for last season's Finals. ↵

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↵I wasn't sold on the Magic as being experienced enough to beat Boston in a playoff series -- particularly without Jameer Nelson. But last night's win over the Celtics was a good indicator that they can keep up. Obviously, it depends on the health of KG. (Dwight Howard: 24 pts, 21 reb.) ↵

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↵Oh, and Kobe is being sued by his ex-maid -- Spencer Hall has the you-can't-make-this-up details. (Spoiler: Don't put your hand in the bag of dog poop. Intrigued? Read on.) ↵

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↵NFL: 18-game season? Touched on this earlier this week, but I think all fans would be in strong support of more games that count. If they start with a 17-game season, I love the idea of that extra game being played at some neutral site. Just remember: This is all about money, people. ↵

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↵NFL Draft: I am pretty sure that the Lions are taking an OT (Jason Smith) with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. But you can also use process of elimination: Detroit reportedly won't be taking Wake Forest LB Aaron Curry -- some lucky team picking next will get the best LB on the board. ↵

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↵Pro Day Mania: Brian Orakpo is as close to "can't-miss" as there is in this draft. ↵

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↵Spring Training: The Price is Wrong. Just last October, Rays rookie pitcher David Price was the Next Big Thing. Now, he is being sent back down to the minors. What gives? ↵

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↵Coaching Carousel: Looks like all the signs are there that Anthony Grant will be headed to Alabama. (Wow: Saban-Grant gives Bama one of the best football-basketball coaching pairs in the country ... up there with Florida's Meyer-Donovan and Texas' Brown-Barnes.) ↵

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↵Economic Woes: Michael Vick isn't just in trouble for the dog-fighting thing; now he's accused of dabbling in alleged financial misconduct. ↵

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↵(BTW: This is what Roger Goodell had to say about reinstating Vick: "Everyone makes mistakes, but he has to show that genuine remorse in his ability to be a positive influence to correct the things that he did wrong publicly.") ↵

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↵The Last Word: "I want to know how some teams get on the list, where they get excuses and other teams are not on that list. All I've been hearing about is all the injury problems the Celtics have had this year." -- Stan Van Gundy is not afraid to talk a little smack about a playoff rival. ↵

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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. ↵

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

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