Shanoff's W.U.C.: Memphis, Duke Save Tourney

Today's Calls: Mizzou vs. the Field, Levance Fields vs. Xavier, Duke vs. Oblivion, Barack Obama vs. Memphis, Blake Griffin vs. Syracuse, LeBron vs. 60 Minutes and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Now THAT'S more like it. The "Chalk Rules!" theme is behind us. ↵

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↵Duke? Gone. For Duke haters, it was glorious: Embarrassed by Villanova in a way they haven't been in the NCAA Tournament since the Dukies got shellacked by UNLV in 1990. Duke's lowest offensive output in the Tournament of the shot-clock era. Scheyer and Henderson shooting 4-for-32(!) ↵

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↵Memphis? Gone. Last year's runner-up. The President's pick to win the West region. Everyone's consensus to make the regional final. Run out of the gym by Mizzou, which instantly re-branded itself as the most telegenic team in the field. ↵

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↵By the end of the night, the wins by the 1-seeds UConn and Pitt (despite that thrilling finish) were long-forgotten, replaced by the unexpected teams in the Elite Eight -- in the case of Missouri, delightfully unexpected. ↵

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↵"Unexpected?" Ahh: That's the NCAA Tournament we know and love. ↵

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↵Tonight's regional semis and tomorrow's regional finals previewed, after the jump -- will the Big East get 5 teams in the Elite Eight? ↵

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↵7:07 12 Arizona vs. 1 Louisville* (Midwest@Indy) ↵
↵No, Zona's no Cindy. And good riddance. ↵
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↵7:27 3 Syracuse* vs. 2 Oklahoma (South@Memphis) ↵
↵Game of the Night: Griffin vs. the 2-3 zone. ↵
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↵9:37 3 Kansas vs. 2 Michigan State* (Midwest@Indy) ↵
↵Defending champs are kids; Spartans are men. ↵
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↵9:57 4 Gonzaga vs. 1 UNC* (South@Memphis) ↵
↵How will Lawson's toe hold up? Zags have swag. ↵

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↵Saturday Regional Final Sneak Peek! ↵West: 3 Mizzou vs. 1 UConn ↵
↵The Huskies are playing well, but didn't look Final Four-sharp against Purdue. Mizzou's frenetic style is the opposite of PU, and they have an underdog's fearlessness. UConn has gone over 90 points only 5 times this season -- they will have to do it again to advance. ↵

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↵East: 3 Villanova vs. 1 Pitt ↵
↵Nova beat Pitt in their only meeting this season. Blair was held to 7 pts (2/3 FG) and 8 reb in 20 min. Pitt may have revenge as motivation, but Nova knows what it takes to beat the Panthers. ↵

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↵Barack Obama's Bracket: Tough night. He lost Memphis (one of his Final Four picks) and Duke. He is now in roughly the 45th percentile. Unfortunately, that's the same position I find my own bracket -- no bragging rights for me over the President yet. If you used the "Pick-By-Higher-Seed" or "Use the National Bracket" methods, you would be outperforming 2/3 of the country with either, but you would have lost Memphis and Duke, too. ↵

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↵More on the radar today (as if you're paying attention to anything but your bracket) ... ↵

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↵MLB: Jeter batting leadoff? The symbolism is a little sickening. ↵

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↵NFL Draft: See? I told you Matt Stafford was a bad draft pick. (No, wait: I mean the 49ers are total idiots.) ↵

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↵More NFL: Is this the first step to an NFL D-League? ↵

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↵Cutler Watch: Is he headed to the Bears, his favorite team of his childhood? This seems like a no-brainer deal for the Bears to make. ↵

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↵CBB: Is today Billy Gillispie's last day at Kentucky? (It should be.) ↵

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↵NBA Draft: BJ Mullens going pro? Two words: Kosta Koufos. ↵

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↵CFB: Curse of RichRod continues. ↵

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↵Pop Culture: I'm not a huge LeBron fan, but I will tune in to "60 Minutes" just to see this jaw-dropping clip on my HD TV screen. ↵

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↵The Last Word: No matter how busted your bracket is heading into the Sweet 16, you can usually rely on the fact that your Final Four is still intact. So it is always a little painful when the last remnants of your bracket fall apart with your Final Four picks, as many folks probably found with Memphis. ↵

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↵(Meanwhile, the last "big bet" of my bracket is still alive: Syracuse to the Final Four. Starts with a win over OU tonight. Continues with a win on Sunday -- doesn't matter if it is over UNC or Gonzaga. With the rest of my bracket an imploded mess, I need the validation!) ↵

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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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