Shanoff's WUC: Turner, Big East, ND, Strasburg

Today's Calls: Evan Turner vs. John Wall, Big East vs. bubble, Notre Dame vs. Big Ten, Thomas Jones vs. LaDainian Tomlinson, Stephen Strasburg vs. Joe Nathan, Dwyane Wade vs. Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods vs. Hank Haney, Robert De Niro vs. Vince Lombardi and More. ↵

↵Evan Turner ↵

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↵The Opening Pitch: The easy thing to do would be to name John Wall college hoops' Player of the Year. ↵

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↵Because Wall is the most exciting player in the country; he is an even more awe-inspiring college guard than Allen Iverson was and instantly joins the first team of all-time All-Freshmen. Wall will be the No. 1 pick of the NBA Draft. ↵

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↵But without Wall, Kentucky would still have three NBA lottery picks in its lineup — including an NBA-worthy point guard. UK would still be a Top 10 team. ↵

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↵The right choice is Ohio State's Evan Turner, who isn't just arguably college hoops' most talented player, but also its most valuable. Without Turner, Ohio State would be in the NIT, let alone a probable No. 2 seed. ↵

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↵But the award becomes Turner's burden: He will be judged not by his terrific regular season (despite breaking his back!), but by how far he can carry Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament. ↵

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↵Let's be specific: Anything less than a trip to the Final Four — not unlike what a similarly versatile and dynamic Dwyane Wade did with Marquette in 2003 — would diminish Turner's spectacular season. (BTW: Same goes for Wall.) ↵

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↵Presuming Turner leads Ohio State to a Big Ten Tournament title (to go with the Buckeyes’ regular-season title), OSU will hopefully get that top No. 2 seed, setting them up in the region against the weakest No. 1 seed. ↵

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↵Otherwise, we might get to see Turner and Wall play head-to-head, with a Final Four on the line. ↵

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↵The regular season Player of the Year title goes to Turner. I have to believe he'd trade it for a Final Four. ↵

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↵(See all of SN's award picks here.) ↵

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↵Big East Tourney: Johnnies! I kind of love the fact that St. John's didn't just beat UConn — they destroyed them. It was like they wanted to say, "Why in the world did anyone EVER think this Huskies team was NCAA-worthy?" ↵

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↵Today: We're still not even at the B.E. quarters, and things will get interesting. South Florida can make a renewed bubble case with a win against G'town. Should Seton Hall-Notre Dame be an NCAA play-in game? ↵

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↵More "Major" Tournaments: Big 12 Prelims: Of the teams playing today, Mizzou, Oklahoma State and Texas are all Tournament locks, but can help (or hurt) their middling seedings with a run. Not expecting much from Texas, per its last six weeks. ↵

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↵Auto-Bids earned: Butler spared some poor schlub on the bubble. (Also in: Oakland and North Texas.) Today's Auto-Bids on the Line: NEC, Big Sky ↵

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↵CFB Conference Expansion: Will Notre Dame join the Big Ten? It has made sense for years. If I was the B10, I would go so far as to offer ND a higher rev-share than other schools — everyone will make more from ND's inclusion. ↵

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↵(Actually, I would be all for a Big Ten expansion to 16, which would immediately challenge the SEC for pre-eminence in college football and remove the league's plodding stigma. It worked for the Big East in hoops.) ↵

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↵That doesn't mean I think ND joining the Big Ten will happen. I think ND wants to see how Brian Kelly does first. If he can take them back near the top, they don't need the B10; if he can't, the B10 will always take them. ↵

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↵NFL Offseason: Thomas Jones ends up in K.C., where he might be the first reliable No. 1 RB since the brief heyday of Larry Johnson. (Whither Jamaal Charles?) ↵

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↵LaDainian Tomlinson to the Vikings? He would have even less of a role than he had in San Diego — it's not like he will displace Adrian Peterson, no matter how many times A.D. fumbles. But LT's role would be clear: It's the one that Chester Taylor played, before he went to the Bears. ↵

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↵NFL Draft: Here's how down I am on Sam Bradford — the Rams would be better off trading for Mike Vick (and drafting a dominant DT like Ndamukong Suh). ↵

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↵MLB Spring Training: Stephen Strasburg is THE story line of the spring — a rare moment in the spotlight for the Nationals. The verdict? Solid: 2 IP, 2 Ks, 2 hits, 20 pitches. He's going to be fine. ↵

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↵Fantasy: Joe Nathan's elbow injury should remind you — don't draft too high for saves! ↵

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↵NBA Talking Points: "That's my responsibility here, to close things out." (Kobe Bryant, on his game-winning shot against Toronto last night.) ↵

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↵Summer 2010: Think Dwyane Wade wants to re-up with a team that can't even beat out the Bobcats for a playoff spot? ↵

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↵NASCAR: Three weeks' probation? Ha! No real punishment for Carl Edwards. Things just got interesting, because the implicit signal sent from HQ is "Yee-ha." ↵

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↵Tiger Watch: Working with Haney? If Tiger is with his swing coach, his return must be close. It's getting a little tight for him to make a Masters return, isn't it? ↵

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↵Media: The deal of the year might be Verizon snagging the mobile NFL rights from Sprint, which puts the Red Zone channel streaming on the VZW network. Now all they need is an iPhone deal. ↵

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↵Movies: Robert De Niro as Vince Lombardi? Yeah: I can actually totally see that. I heard that Jonah Hill is going to be playing Bart Starr. (Only funny if you heard Jonah Hill is playing Paul DePodesta in "Moneyball.") ↵

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↵The Last Word: "The fans are ruthless and don't deserve a winner." ↵
↵— Derek Anderson, cut yesterday by the Browns, ensuring that his time there won't be remembered fondly by Cleveland fans. ↵

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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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