Shanoff's W.U.C.: CBB, G'town, Manny, Shaq

Today's Calls: Conference Tournaments vs. the Big Dance, Georgetown vs. Michigan State, Jay Cutler vs. Kurt Warner, A-Rod vs. The Cyst, Manny vs. Johan, Dwight Howard vs. Shaquille O'Neal and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Aaand, we're back. ↵

↵

↵For a long time, I have advocated eliminating the Bubble, eliminating the 64-team maximum, eliminating the conference tournaments and the useless NIT/CBA/MEH Big Dance rip-offs and simply opening a "Biggest Dance" to every NCAA team. (There are other details. Read them here.) ↵

↵

↵Of the counterpoints, the one that resonates most is that conference tournaments create a de facto everyone-in-the-pool tournament. After all: No matter what your sorry regular-season record, if you string together enough conference-tournament wins, you advance to the NCAA Tournament. Period. ↵

↵

↵And if you win six in a row in the NCAA Tournament, it doesn't matter what happened in the rest of your season. Just ask Tyler Hansbrough. (Again. And again. Um ... and again.) ↵

↵

↵Because my plan is so never-gonna-happen, I root like crazy at the start of these small-conference tournaments — the random (3)/(5) quarterfinal games from some mid-meh-major where neither team has any shot at going to the NCAA Tournament ... without continuing to win this week. Oh, but if they do! ↵

↵

↵For example: Lester Hudson is playing with a sense of urgency: Hudson — one of the top talents in college hoops — leads Ohio Valley top-seed Tennessee-Martin, which won't make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large — only by winning its conference tournament. He had 42 points, with 9 rebounds and 9 assists, leading UTM to a first-round win yesterday; two more wins and they're in. Meanwhile, OVC rival Austin Peay barely survived an upset from Eastern Illinois. ↵

↵

↵The Cinderella stories don't start on that first Thursday of the tournament. Or even during the wild finishes that define Championship Week. They start right now. ↵

↵

↵Hey: Lowly Lafayette (8-21) is only 10 straight wins from the national championship. ↵

↵

↵ ↵

↵

↵CBB Mania: Georgetown's maddening season has been captured perfectly in the last 96 hours — a win at high-flying Villanova on Saturday, seemingly to put the Hoyas back in the NCAA Tournament. Then a loss to lowly St. John's last night, seemingly to KO them right back out of it. (And they can take Cincinnati with them to join fellow Big East flunkie Notre Dame in the NIT.) ↵

↵

↵Michigan State wins Big Ten title: Yeah, but they didn't look particularly good in doing it, struggling to put away awful Indiana. ↵

↵

↵(MSU is one of those power-conference-champ-but-not-quite-Final-Four teams — does a Big Ten title really matter? Sure, Tom Izzo is going to shave his head in celebration, but self-respecting students should say that they'll double-down on the preseason bet: He can keep his hair for now, but if the Spartans don't make the Final Four, Izzo deserves a real scalping.) ↵

↵

↵CBB Must-Read: Mike DeCourcy's Bubble Watch. ↵

↵

↵NFL: Broncos won't trade Jay Cutler. But not because they didn't want to, but because they missed their window. Now Cutler is miffed, Josh McDaniels is in spin mode and everyone in the organization seems to think things will be just fine. Sure: Until the Broncos miss the playoffs next season and they trade Cutler then. So let's amend the start of this item to "Broncos won't trade Jay Cutler ... yet." ↵

↵

↵Warner Watch: The Cards offered him 2Y/$20M ($10M guaranteed). He wants 2Y/$23M ($12M guaranteed). Given the economic value Warner created for the Cardinals last year — and that he is their best option at QB for sustained success next year, is the $2M difference in guaranteed money all that big of a deal for the Cardinals to pony up? (Don't both sides assume he'll really retire after next season anyway?) ↵

↵

↵NFL Players Lost at Sea: The search is over. I think that photo of Nick Schuyler alone on the capsized boat being approached by the Coast Guard — his friends nowhere to be seen — is a haunting and defining image of this tragedy. Condolences to family, friends and fans. ↵

↵

↵A-Rod Saga, Cont'd: Let's set aside why he may have developed a cyst in his hip, and just focus on the on-field implications: Will he have to pull out of the WBC? Will he have to have surgery to have it removed? Will that impair his regular season with the Yankees? (And, yes, OK: Could the timing have been any more ironic? It's like Karma saying: "You ain't gonna get off THAT easy.") ↵

↵

↵Manny is back with the Dodgers? Reportedly — or it's at least close enough that it might as well be a done-deal, even for someone as mercurial as Manny. The upshot: Manny will get his money. The Dodgers will elevate to be adequately competitive enough to win the N.L. West. I would call that a win-win, with the only complaint: Why did it take so long? (BTW: The N.L. has its leading MVP candidate and top fantasy stud for N.L.-only leagues.) ↵

↵

↵Mets' Johan to miss season opener? I sure would have him skip it. Why push it, especially if he'll be ready by the season's second series. ↵

↵

↵Nomar to the A's a done-deal? Think back to the early 00's — the height of the Moneyball A's, the height of Nomar's earning power. Think either team ever thought the other could afford them? ↵

↵

↵MLB PED Scandal: There is admitting you used steroids, and then there is saying that you DIDN'T use steroids, but — hell, yeah — you would have if you could have. How can you not love Darryl Strawberry? ↵

↵

↵NBA Instant History: Superman II tops Superman I. Dwight Howard: 21 pts, 8 reb. Shaq: 19 pts, 11 reb. But the Magic — one of only five teams actually trying to compete for the NBA title — beat the Suns (not one of those 5) by 12 in Orlando. And Shaq flopped. (Shakes head sadly.) ↵

↵

↵Joe Smith back to the Cavs: It's not a trade deal, but it might as well be — Smith will add depth to the Cavs frontcourt and he already has a successful history with the team ... and LeBron. (LBJ: "One of the best guys, one of the best teammates I've ever had.") ↵

↵

↵Oh, George Karl: Stop being so hyper-sensitive. Carmelo "crossed the line?" For wanting to stay in the game after finally finding his stroke? Your players stopped listening to you a long time ago — Melo's revolt said more about Karl's leadership than Anthony's temperament. ↵

↵

↵Wooden Watch: I will stop bugging John Wooden to sign my copy of his "Pyramid of Success" if his family will let him open a Twitter account so that we can get open-ended thoughts from the Wizard directly. ↵

↵

↵NHL: Trade deadline today. Up to 20 trades? Could teach the NBA a lesson or two about the dramatics of player movement. ↵

↵

↵CFB Spring '09: Come on. Who do you think leads the Top 5 Storylines to Watch? ↵

↵

↵CFB HOF: Think that College Football Hall of Fame voters will have any of the same issues about including players who have been involved in steroids as the snobs in the Baseball HOF have been? Brian Bosworth — who was having PED scandals 20 years before they were cool — is on the ballot. ↵

↵

↵Maurice Clarett has a blog? Hmm: How about ... www.wastedtalentandterriblejudgment.blogspot.com? ↵

↵

↵The Last Word: "The fact that the league had to borrow ($200) million. If that doesn't tell you there's some issues, what does?" ↵

↵

↵— Kevin McHale, not insulting fans' intelligence by avoiding the league's obvious issues and explaining why the NBA is in trouble and why the NBA players' union better get their heads around that. ↵

↵

↵(By the way: Huge kudos to the T-wolves on cutting ticket prices for this year and next and offering guarantees on refunds if you lose your job before next season is over.) ↵

↵

↵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. ↵

↵

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

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.