Shanoff's WUC.: Awful Game, Awesome Champ

Today's Calls: UNC vs. Peerlessness, Hansbrough vs. History, Lawson vs. Ellington, CC vs. K-Rod, Sean Miller vs. Josh Pastner, My Bracket vs. Barack Obama's Bracket and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: That was a terrible game. UNC is a terrific champ. ↵

↵

↵UNC rolled through the field, and the Heels dismantled scrappy Michigan State, the next-best team in the Tournament. UNC's 121-point differential over 6 games was the 2nd-highest since the field expanded to 64 teams. ↵

↵

↵In hindsight, it feels like the 2009 NCAA Tournament was over on Selection Sunday and UNC was seeded. ↵

↵

↵The title game itself was over early. You could say it was over when UNC took a 34-11 lead. Or when they scored a tournament title-game record 55 points by halftime, leading by 21 points, another title-game record. ↵

↵

↵Ty Lawson had eight steals. And, oddly, he wasn't even the Tournament MOP -- that was Wayne Ellington (19 pts, including 3 gorgeous high-arcing 3s). Tyler Hansbrough's 18 pts and 7 reb were almost an afterthought. ↵

↵

↵Almost. ↵

↵

↵Because, for me, this game was as much about Hansbrough as superstar as it was about UNC as super-team. Psycho-T had already established himself as one of the greatest players in modern college basketball history. But he was foiled in March, over and over. ↵

↵

↵Not anymore. With a national championship, he can stake his claim as one of the best of the best. I said this yesterday: He is now up there with Laettner and Carmelo as one of the handful of greatest of all time. Multiple 1st-team All-American awards -- and now, finally, a national title. ↵

↵

↵Domination isn't fun or interesting. It is simply impressive. That is how I will remember this 2009 UNC championship -- and Hansbrough's career. ↵

↵

↵MLB Opening Day: ↵• CC rocked by the O's! 6 ER and 5 BB (with 0 Ks) in 4.1 IP, in what can only be described as the biggest bust of a free-agent debut ever, compounded by the fact that the Yankees made Sabathia the highest-paid pitcher in history this past offseason. Is it time to start panicking yet in the Bronx? (NY Post back-cover headline: "BIRDBATHIA.") ↵

↵

↵• Meanwhile: K-Rod earns the save for Mets, providing a startling contrast to the other New York pitching debut yesterday. (Oh, by the way, who needs Manny Ramirez when you have Dan Murphy?) ↵

↵

↵• Speaking of Manny, Jose Canseco insinuated that Manny was a juicer -- can you really dismiss Canseco's hunches anymore? ↵

↵

↵• Break up the...Pirates! They rallied for 4 runs in the 9th off new Cards closer Jason Motte to steal a win in St. Louis. Now 1-0, this might be as good as it gets for the Bucs this season. ↵
↵
↵

↵

↵• Fantasy Studs: ↵
↵(1) Hanley Ramirez! (2/3, 2 R, 5 RBI, HR) ↵

↵

↵(2) Adam Lind! (4/5, 6 RBI, 2 R) ↵

↵

↵(3) Felix Hernandez! (8 IP, 6 K, 1 ER) ↵

↵

↵• Two words: Ken. Griffey. ↵

↵

↵College Hoops Coaching Carousel: Sean Miller -- the hottest young coaching talent available -- is now at Arizona, in a coup for the Wildcats. Youthful but longtime Zona assistant Josh Pastner -- most recently assisting John Calipari -- was named Cal's successor at Memphis. ↵

↵

↵(Pastner obviously learned well from the master: He will keep top recruit Xavier Henry committed to Memphis -- rather than seeing him go to Kansas, as rumored -- by reportedly hiring Henry's father as Memphis director of basketball ops. Cal did the same thing with DeJuan Wagner's dad -- other coaches do it too, and it remains the sketchiest tactic in college recruiting.) ↵

↵

↵Basketball Hall of Fame: MJ, Admiral, Stockton breeze in, along with coaches Jerry Sloan and Vivian Stringer. Want to know why the Baseball Hall is so messed up? Because you'd find at least one crank with BBWAA voting privileges who would not have put Jordan on their ballot. Great moment for the hoops Hall. ↵

↵

↵NBA Instant History: Strike the Spurs from the (very) short list of teams with a shot at the NBA title. With Manu Ginobili, the Spurs were an outside pick to make some noise in the West -- without him, the Spurs should consider it a victory to make it out of the first round. ↵

↵

↵NBA Draft: Chase Budinger is turning pro. I have the same question about him as I do about Ty Lawson or Tyler Hansbrough or any player who decided not to enter last year's draft -- exactly what has changed about Budinger's pro prospects between then and now? I'd say: Not much. (Budinger should ask Arizona alum and poster guy for this theory, Jason Gardner.) ↵

↵

↵Meanwhile: I think it's a foregone conclusion that Lawson will turn pro -- how can he do any more as a collegian? Wayne Ellington probably dazzled enough in the Final Four to justify a leap, too. (The real intrigue for me is Ed Davis: If he would be a Top 10 pick, how could he NOT go pro?) ↵

↵

↵NFL Draft: Just two weeks from Saturday. And with the NCAA Tournament behind us and MLB just getting started, it's time to put your focus on the Draft. ↵

↵

↵The Last Word: My bracket picks finished in the 12th percentile. Last year, I finished in the 18th percentile and that was my worst year ever -- so I'm not quite sure what I should feel about this year's even worse showing. I guess thankful I didn't finish in the single-digits. ↵

↵

↵Next year, maybe I should simply follow the President. After a slow start, Barack Obama -- who correctly picked UNC as the champ -- outperformed 80 percent of brackets nationwide. Not bad. ↵

↵

↵We both would have been better off following the wisdom of the crowd. If we had both used the "National Bracket" -- the aggregation of everyone's bracket picks -- we would have outperformed 88 percent of all individual brackets. ↵

↵

↵That is clearly the way I need to go next year. ↵

↵

↵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. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff. ↵

↵

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

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

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.