Shanoff's W.U.C.: Northwestern, Magic, Helio

Today's Calls: Northwestern Women's Lacrosse vs. History, Cavs vs. Magic, LeBron vs. LeShot, Anthony Johnson vs. Mo Williams, Helio Castroneves vs. Danica Patrick, David Ortiz vs. Adam Dunn, Nick Calathes vs. Jeremy Shockey and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: The best sports team in America today? ↵

↵

↵It is not the Steelers, despite two NFL titles in the past 4 years. Not Urban Meyer's Gators, despite two college football national titles in the last 3 years. It isn't the Red Wings, on the verge of yet another Stanley Cup title. It certainly isn't LeBron's Cavs. ↵

↵

↵It is Northwestern's women's lacrosse team, which yesterday captured its fifth straight national title, capping an unbeaten season. ↵

↵

↵The Wildcats have dominated the decade in women's lacrosse despite being a Midwest outpost in a sport traditionally ruled out East (see today's men's final between defending champ Syracuse and upstart Cornell). ↵

↵

↵Making it all the more remarkable, the program didn't even exist at the varsity level before the decade began. Now, they are the hot destination for the best recruits -- at least the kids from Maryland or New Jersey or Carolina or New York who care about winning national titles. ↵

↵

↵Northwestern's football team once embodied futility in team sports; its lacrosse team now represents the very best. ↵

↵

↵Orlando 2, Cleveland 1: Think the Magic were sick of hearing about LeBron's Shot? I'm not saying Anthony Johnson's elbow to Mo Williams' face was intentional -- but it was certainly cathartic. ↵

↵

↵The combined foul total of 61 in the game tells the story -- LeBron's shot (may have*) saved the Cavs' season, but even more, it accelerated bad feelings that began when the Magic took home-court advantage from the Cavs in Game 1. ↵

↵

↵What should worry Cavs fans is that they could easily be down 3-0 in this series, and while LeBron is playing brilliantly, his teammates are not. The Magic are the better team, and even the Cavs admit the matchups are brutal for them. ↵

↵

↵(*Remember: "LeShot" only remains mythical if the Cavs pull out the series; if they don't, you won't be able to remember it through the haze of chokery.) ↵

↵

↵Lakers-Nuggets Game 4: It could so easily be 3-0 Nuggets. It better be 2-2 by the time we finish tonight's game in Denver, if the Nuggets want to have any chance at all of winning this series. ↵

↵

↵Indy 500: Helio! And yet, the biggest story seems to be Danica's 3rd-place finish -- and talk of her bolting for NASCAR (which should be a no-brainer for her). Will this be the last Indy 500 with "Danicachet?" (Meanwhile, rain Sunday means a Memorial Day noon spectacle at the Coke 600.) ↵

↵

↵MLB Talking Points: Peavy was right not to leave the Padres - 9 straight Ws! ↵

↵

↵• Interleague's most impressive: Twins sweep Brewers ↵

↵

↵• Big Papi Watch: Only CONSIDERING dropping him in order? ↵

↵

↵• Mem Day Must-Track: David Price starts for Rays ↵

↵

↵• Replay Update: What is it about Fenway? ↵

↵

↵• Fantasy Studs: McCarthy (CG SO) | Dunn (2 HR, 6 RBI) ↵

↵

↵NHL Playoffs: The Wings are showing the Hawks how it is done in late May. ↵

↵

↵NFL Offseason: Jeremy Shockey hospitalized in Vegas after being rushed out of a pool party on a stretcher. Allegedly, he was merely dehydrated -- that seems like a pretty big deal for not drinking enough Gatorade. If you are an athlete and you are being covered by TMZ, you have a problem. (He has since been released.) ↵

↵

↵NBA Draft: Nick Calathes will play in Greece. Somewhere between Childress and Jennings, there is Calathes, a marginal NBA talent from Florida, who will skip out on the NBA next season to play for the best team in Europe. ↵

↵

↵It's not for everyone, but it's a great move for him: (1) The money, which will be equivalent to being drafted in the Lottery, even though he is a marginal 1st-round pick at best; (2) the seasoning, playing for a team at least as good as a bottom-feeding NBA team; (3) the marketing, as he will be much more attractive to NBA GMs after a year of pro basketball (he can opt-out after his first year). ↵

↵

↵NBA Coaching Carousel: Jay Wright will one day make a great NBA coach -- he may be the college coach with the best chance of making the jump to the pros. It's not happening now, though; why leave his Top 10 program? ↵

↵

↵CFB Offseason: Who will be the 2009 Coach of the Year? Houston Nutt is a pretty popular pick to have this year's breakthrough BCS team. ↵

↵

↵The Last Word: How do you say "It's over" in Mandarin? Cavs fans can breathe easy now; LeBron isn't going to leave in 2010 for New York -- not after the Cavs sold a sizeable ownership stake to a business group in China. ↵

↵

↵Why is that the decisive factor in the debate? LeBron wants to be a huge global brand -- not merely playing in the biggest U.S. media market. If the Cavs can become "China's Team" -- with LeBron as the star -- that will be a very big thing for LeBron. About 1.5-billion-people big. ↵

↵

↵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

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.