Shanoff's WUC: NCAA Bubble Gets Interesting

Today's Calls: Louisville vs. the bubble, Seton Hall vs. San Diego State, Florida vs. Auburn, Montana Grizzlies vs. Memphis Grizzlies, Big Ben vs. Brady Quinn, Derrick Mason vs. Anquan Boldin, Antonio Bryant vs. T.O., Nomar vs. the Red Sox, Torii Hunter vs. the Media, Bill Hancock vs. the U.S. Senate and More. ↵

↵Bob HugginsThe Opening Pitch: OK, now things start to get interesting on the college hoops landscape, as more "big" conference bubble teams head into must-win scenarios. Here are how today's story lines size up: ↵

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↵— Bubble Watch: Is Louisville out after losing to Cincinnati last night? Unlikely, but their position on the bubble became a lot more precarious. (Cincy isn't close to in, but gets a great "Huggins reunion" game vs. WVU.) ↵

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↵— Definitely Out: Seton Hall, after losing a must-win against Notre Dame. Meanwhile, San Diego State is in a similar must-win today in the Mountain West quarters. (Memphis is, too, in the C-USA Qtrs.) ↵

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↵— The Big East Quarters, despite not having L'ville, feels more loaded than an NCAA sub-regional: No less than seven Dance-quality teams, headlined by Syracuse-G'town. (Plus: Marquette-‘Nova, Pitt-Notre Dame, WVU-Cincy.) ↵

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↵— Must-Win: Florida, playing Auburn in the only game of the SEC prelims that has any impact on the bubble. (Tomorrow: Both Mississippi teams need a win; if the Gators win, Mississippi State-Florida could be zero-sum.) ↵

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↵— The ACC prelim day has a single intriguing match-up: Georgia Tech is on the bubble and will likely be out if they lose to UNC. On the other hand, the defending champs' brutal season could be euthanized today. ↵

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↵— Today's Big Ten prelims are brutal: No bubble teams (not even close). Things get mildly more interesting tomorrow, but only because I want to see just how worthy (or unworthy) Hummel-less Purdue is for a top-4 seed. ↵

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↵— The Pac-10 is a joke: Put it this way: If Arizona State beats Stanford and/or Washington beats Oregon State, both stay in the bubble convo. If they lose, the Pac-10 could/should be, incredibly, a one-bid league. ↵

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↵— Congrats to Montana: That win over Weber State was epic, coming back from being down 22 and being led by Anthony Johnson's 42 (including 34 in the 2nd half). Can't say the Grizzlies didn't earn their way to that bid. ↵

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↵NFL Offseason: Has any team transformed a weakness into a strength like the Ravens' receiving corps? When Derrick Mason re-signed, he now joins Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth. ↵

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↵(Speaking of revamped WR units, Antonio Bryant gives the Bengals the complement to Chad Ochocinco they lacked ever since T.J. Houshmanzadeh went to Seattle. It's less exciting than having T.O., but probably more effective.) ↵

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↵Big Ben Watch: The question now is was it consensual? ↵

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↵NFL Trades: Anyone want Brady Quinn? Anyone? ↵

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↵NFL Draft: It's the annual Wonderlic score leak, and — as with everything in this draft — Tim Tebow's 22 is the headliner. Plenty of good NFL QBs have done the same or worse. The average is 24. Sam Bradford got a 36. ↵

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↵NBA Talking Points: Does the Grizzlies' first win over the Celtics since '06 say more about the improvement of Memphis or the decline of Boston? ... 13 straight Ws for the Mavs ... Stud: Tyreke's first triple-double won't be his last. ↵

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↵MLB Spring Training: Cliff Lee had a solid debut for Seattle. He is key to their hopes of a terrific offseason yielding a trip to the postseason. ↵

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↵Nomar retiring with Red Sox: This was a smart move. People will forget the wilderness years after he left Boston and focus on remembering him as the elite shortstop he was when he played at Fenway. (Dan Levy has a great take on his career and what's next.) ↵

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↵Torii Hunter walks it back: Waaay back. ↵

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↵BCS Mess: "I sure do think that Congress has more important things to do" is the ultimate comeback for BCS honcho Bill Hancock against the U.S. Senators who are pressing him about the BCS and a CFB playoff. Regardless of how you feel about the BCS, he's right on that point. ↵

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↵Crosby mystery solved: Olympic gear was merely "misplaced" — not stolen. ↵

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↵Fun: The Phillies fan and his daughter throwing back a foul ball was my favorite off-field story line of last year's baseball season. Fun to see this follow-up. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "Floating realignment," baseball's phrase of the week. It won't happen, but something like it should happen, and it is precisely the kind of innovative thinking that baseball needs to ... float. It is healthy for the game to take a hard look at supposedly sacred cows. ↵

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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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