Shanoff's WUC: Cornell Is The Story of March

Today's Calls: Cornell vs. Kentucky, Kalin Lucas vs. Northern Iowa, Roger Goodell vs. NFL Overtime, Tim Tebow vs. the NFL Draft, Donovan McNabb vs. Kevin Kolb, Chris Cohan vs. Larry Ellison, Aroldis vs. A-Rod, Erin Andrews vs. "Dancing With the Stars" and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: The most intriguing team remaining in the NCAA Tournament is Cornell. ↵

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↵With all due respect to Northern Iowa, UNI had its "One Shining Moment" on Saturday -- knocking off the Tournament's presumptive favorite. ↵

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↵As the highest seed left and the first Sweet 16 team from the Ivy League in the 64-team era, Cornell's moment is still to come, when they take the court Thursday night against the new presumptive favorite, Kentucky. ↵

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↵The story lines are obvious: Juggernaut vs. Cinderella, NBA vs. MBA, fab freshmen vs. savvy seniors, Ashley Judd vs. Keith Olbermann, Worldwide Wes vs. Hmm: Is there a Worldwide Wes of the Ivy League? ↵

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↵John Calipari knows: Cornell was under-seeded. The game is being played in Cornell Country. Cornell shoots 3s better than most teams shoot 2s. They eviscerated a very good Wisconsin D. ↵

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↵We all should have seen Cornell coming: They were Northern Iowa before Northern Iowa was Northern Iowa; back in early January, Big Red played Kansas toe-to-toe down to the final minute, on KU's home court. ↵

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↵It is that last detail that has me believing -- and, like everyone else, certainly rooting -- that Cornell can pull the upset over UK. Up 'til now, Cornell has proven more than Kentucky, which really has proven nothing yet. ↵

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↵Northern Iowa over Kansas was gloriously unexpected. With three more days to savor Kentucky-Cornell, we can already see it coming: It is the most intriguing game of the entire Tournament. ↵

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↵Speaking of Northern Iowa, their path to the Final Four will be slightly less arduous -- as if it could get any more arduous than Kansas -- with Michigan State PG and MVP Kalin Lucas is out with an Achilles injury. ↵

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↵Women's Tourney: Brittney Griner -- who, just weeks ago, I said should have been suspended for the rest of the season -- set a new record with 14 blocks in a Baylor win over G'town. (Astoundingly, 13 came in the 2nd half.) ↵

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↵NIT Madness: Illinois and Virginia Tech could do what fellow 1-seed Kansas could not: Get out of the 2nd round of their tournament. (Yes, that's a stretch, but Illini and Hokie fans should take it where they can get it.) ↵

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↵NFL OT Watch: League commissioners' statements should be parsed like the Oracle at Delphi. If Roger Goodell calls modifications to OT policy "very much worth consideration," that is a very big deal. ↵

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↵NFL Draft: Would Tim Tebow -- the league's most popular and compelling player in the 2010 Draft -- really skip showing up in NYC? Folks who think Tebow attending is a bad idea overlook that this year's format means that Tebow not being taken in Thursday's 1st round only makes him the No. 1 story coming out of Thursday and heading into Friday. This isn't "Brady Quinn sitting in the green room" territory; Team Tebow can be a lot more creative than that. But the fact is: Fans want to see him there, and Tebow should embrace that. ↵

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↵(By the way, yesterday, Florida WR Deonte Thompson called Tebow's replacement, John Brantley, a "real quarterback." I think he meant that Brantley is a traditional drop-back passer, but we all know that every sentiment about Tebow's fitness as a QB has to be scrutinized. And if the question is whether Brantley has a better arm than Tebow, the answer is yes; by the end of next season, Todd McShay will have Brantley mocked as a 2011 1st-rounder and if Brantley chooses to stay through 2012, he will be a Top 5 pick.) ↵

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↵NFL Offseason: Trade McNabb? That's what Vinnie Iyer is saying should happen in Philly. At some point, that team has to move on from the McNabb Era; not sure why they wouldn't start that process as soon as possible. ↵

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↵NBA Talking Points: Hope for Warriors fans! The much-reviled current owner is selling, and free-spending local business icon Larry Ellison of Oracle wants to buy. (Get the deal done before the summer spending season.) ↵

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↵Meanwhile: We weren't really talking about the Hornets being better off trading/without Chris Paul, were we? Just ask the Mavs about that. ↵

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↵Amare. ... Oh, YIKES. ↵

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↵MLB Spring Training: Aroldis Chapman is hurting with a stiff lower back already. Foreshadowing? ↵

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↵PED Scandal: A-Rod is going to meet with the Feds on Friday about Dr. Galea. Four-word advice that could save him a bunch on legal fees: Just tell the truth. ↵

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↵Public Service Announcement: Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's today. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "My feet are killing me!! But I had blast!! Yes, I need to improve on alot of areas, but @MaksimC got me thru this tonight!!" -- Erin Andrews (aka @erinandrewsESPN), on her "Dancing With the Stars" debut. ↵

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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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