Shanoff's WUC: UConn, China, Bode, T-Mac

Today's Calls: UConn men vs. UConn women, Shen vs. Zhao, Bode Miller vs. Seth Wescott, T-Mac vs. Marcus Camby, Elliott Sadler vs. Fatherhood, Curtis Granderson vs. LF and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Life on the NCAA Tournament Bubble is brutal. ↵

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↵Take UConn: A few days ago, the Huskies went through their worst loss of the season, an ugly one to Cincinnati — and the Huskies seemed locked in for the NIT. Then, last night, they head down to Philly and beat Villanova. ↵

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↵Jim Calhoun ↵

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↵Now, that kind of upset might be par for the course in the brutal Big East — especially in the last 48 hours, which also saw Syracuse lose at home to Louisville and Georgetown lose to Rutgers. That would be three head-scratching losses for the league's three best teams (four if you count West Virginia losing to Pitt on Friday). ↵

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↵But the win must be so frustrating for UConn fans: On the one hand, it keeps a flicker of hope alive for the NCAA Tournament; on the other, it shows just how good this team can be if it wasn't so inconsistent, which is why the team obviously has the talent to win the Big East Tournament, but there's no way they can string the necessary four straight wins together. ↵

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↵There is one solace for UConn fans: The women's team won its 65th straight game, dispatching No. 12 Oklahoma in what was arguably its closest game of the season: A 16-point win, in which OU actually led early in the second half. ↵

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↵Not only are the UConn women as far away from the NCAA Tournament bubble as possible, they make the other 60-some teams that actually will make the women's field seem irrelevant. The men could take a lesson. ↵

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↵Hot Winter Olympic Action: ↵

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↵— The big winners: Shen and Zhao, the 30-something out-of-retirement married skating pair from China had never won Olympic gold — their event has been dominated for a half-century by Russia/USSR — finally did it, and it's my new favorite moment from these Games. ↵

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↵— Welcome back, Bode: You've got to respect the kind of expectations management (thanks mostly to his debacle four years ago) that has winning a bronze as a really, really big deal. ↵

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↵— No such trouble for Seth Wescott, who followed up his '06 gold in snowboardcross with another gold this year. ↵

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↵— TV Ratings: Let's not hear any more cracks about how nobody cares about the Winter Olympics. Going head-to-head with Vancouver, the Daytona 500 had its lowest ratings of the Cable TV Era (since 1991). And for all the talk of the NBA All-Star game 100K attendance, it tied for the lowest-rated NBA All-Star Game ever. ↵

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↵NBA Trade Deadline Week: T-Mac to Knicks? It's been rumored for weeks. Is the deal about to go down? If genius Daryl Morey — my favorite NBA GM — is doing the deal, you know the Knicks are coming out on the wrong side. But shedding salary is shedding salary: That's the Knicks' goal. ↵

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↵(As for swapping first-rounders in 2011? Look: If the Knicks don't get a top-tier free agent this summer and thus improve dramatically enough that their first-round pick isn't all that great, they have a lot bigger problems than switching draft positions with Houston.) ↵

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↵More NBA Trade Talk: Another hot story line is the Blazers making a push for Marcus Camby, to shore up their depleted post. Credit the Blazers for not giving up on the season and making moves to try to get in the playoffs; even if they have little expectation of advancing, the experience will be invaluable. ↵

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↵Bubble Watch: All these month-out NCAA Tournament field projections that are dismissing Northwestern outright are not taking into account that the committee will stretch the boundaries as far as possible to try to get them in. ↵

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↵NFL Draft: My favorite thing about Matt Hayes' "Most Overrated/Underrated" list is that it doesn't mention Tim Tebow — on either side. ↵

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↵It's MLB Season Preview season. First up: The Yankees. No reason to think they shouldn't be the favorite to win another championship. (In fact, more reason: A-Rod will have a full season and Granderson is an upgrade in the OF. Speaking of Granderson, he might move to LF.) ↵

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↵NASCAR: With all the new dads (and dads-to-be) on the circuit, I'm shocked that Pampers or Huggies or Gerber hasn't tried to create a sponsorship deal with someone like Elliott Sadler. (Carl Edwards: You're next!) ↵

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↵Alternative Pro Football League Watch: The UFL is moving the New York franchise to Hartford. If only they were the NHL, they would be on to something. Perhaps they're hoping the proximity to ESPN will increase coverage. ↵

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↵Today's "WTF?" Storyline: Floyd Landis' arrest warrant. Hacking? Seriously? ↵

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↵The Last Word: I measure my birthdays, in part, by the number of active NBA players still older than me. It's down to 7: Juwan Howard, Kevin Ollie, Grant Hill, Shaq, Kurt Thomas, Brent Barry and Lindsey Hunter. ↵

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

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

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