Shanoff's WUC: Griner Has 'One Shiner Moment'

Today's Calls: Brittney Griner vs. Texas Tech, Greivis Vasquez vs. Jon Scheyer, Kansas vs. Your Bracket, Notre Dame vs. the Bubble, Tiger Woods vs. Steve Williams, Carmelo Anthony vs. Kevin Durant, Jake Peavy vs. Expectations, NFL vs. Free Agency, Lindsey Vonn vs. Wheaties and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Brittney Griner is having her "One Shiner Moment." ↵

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↵Griner, a 6-8 superstar freshman women's hoops player for Baylor, clocked an opposing player in the face last night. And she should expect the Big 12 -- and popular opinion -- to punch back. ↵

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↵Let's start with the mechanics: Griner should be suspended not just for the Big 12 Tournament, but the NCAA Tournament, too. If this had happened in early January, she might have been suspended for the rest of the regular season -- that it happened in March is epically unfortunate timing for her and her team, but anything short of a suspension for the rest of the month, including both tournaments, would be laughable. ↵

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↵It doesn't matter that Baylor is a Sweet 16-quality team with a puncher's chance -- yikes -- at a run into the Elite Eight and beyond. It doesn't matter that Griner is arguably the most heralded freshman of her class, a stud whose dunks had already made her "YouTube famous." ↵

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↵Now, Griner will experience a new kind of fame: She is a hot Google search and the type of story that crosses over from niche women's basketball Web sites to the mainstream cable-news meat-grinder, complete with grainy local-TV video that makes the punch painfully ubiquitous. (Just ask LeGarrette Blount.) ↵

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↵The good news for Griner: She has three more years to make the story about her talent and her team's success, not her temper-tantrums. But as she sits out the rest of her team's season -- effectively ruining it -- she can think about how this incident has indelibly become her "One Shiner Moment." ↵

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↵After yesterday's lead item about how bummed I was over the sorry state of the Bubble, I was totally re-energized by Maryland's win over Duke. ↵

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↵It's not like either team will miss the NCAA Tournament, but the fan atmosphere at Comcast Center was insane, and both teams played like it mattered (yes, a regular-season ACC title was nominally on the line, but this was mostly about two-way hate). ↵

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↵BTW: Greivis Vasquez is terrific. Though he might not be as talented as, say, John Wall or Evan Turner, no star player in college hoops brings as much demonstrative energy as Vasquez. After last night, I would give him the nod for ACC POY ahead of Jon Scheyer. ↵

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↵Bubble Watch: Notre Dame, instead of being on the outside looking in, is now on the inside -- their NCAA at-large bid is in their hands after the Irish beat UConn, continuing a string of unlikely Ws against high-quality Big East teams. I'm not even sure that a loss at Marquette this weekend (or even a 1st-round loss in the Big East Tourney) would put them back on the outside. They have a ton of momentum. ↵

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↵Bracket jockeying: Kansas will be the easiest entry on your bracket to slot into the Final Four. KU's win over K-State in Lawrence last night was hardly surprising, but it was affirming. ↵

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↵Championship Week: Kennesaw State! The 8-seed in the Atlantic Sun Conference upended top-seeded Lipscomb. (To be fair: 3 other teams tied Lipscomb for the best record in the league. Long way to go for Kennesaw, but still ... I think it's fair to say their season is made. And, for a brief moment, the K-Kids can envision a path to the NCAA Tournament.) ↵World Cup Prep: There's no shame in losing to the Dutch in a WC warm-up, but the U.S. loss felt like ominous foreshadowing for South Africa in 3 months. Somehow, I think designated game goat Jonathan Bornstein won't be on the field. ↵

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↵Tiger Watch: Well, at least one person thinks Tiger will play the Masters. Now, the person happens to be Jack Nicklaus.... ↵

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↵Unpack that latest Tiger poll: Tiger's favorability ratings have plummeted from 85 percent 5 years ago to 39 percent today. Yikes. But the good news is that 55 percent of fans say they are ready to forgive him, which the majority of whom will do as soon as he gets back on the course. ↵

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↵NFL Offseason: Want to feel prepared for tomorrow's free-agency (and "uncapped" year)? Read Iyer's primer. In short: Free-agency movement this year is going to be pretty lame. ↵

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↵NBA Talking Points: Carmelo vs. Durant goes to Melo, who had 30 to KD's 19 in a Nuggets rout. It's as if Carmelo wanted to prove the point that as great as Durant is right now, he's not as good as Anthony. ↵

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↵LeBron 2010: The closest the Nets are going to come is the 26 pts, 14 ast and 7 reb that Bron dropped on them last night. Remember when everyone thought LeBron to Jay-Z's Nets was a done-deal? How quaint. ↵

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↵MLB Preview: Chicago White Sox, anchored by Jake Peavy, who says that he is "as healthy as I've ever been." That's a best-case scenario for the Sox, whose strength is pitching (Peavy, Buehrle, Danks, Floyd). ↵

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↵Gimmicks: Northwestern is willing to give up a home game against its top rival to play at Wrigley Field. I love the idea of a game at Wrigley, but why would they schedule it against Illinois, a team with a Chicago and state-wide fan base that would pack Wrigley in orange and turn it into a virtual Illinois home game? ↵

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↵Business: Which U.S. Olympians get the "Wheaties box" treatment? Vonn, Shaun and Seth Wescott. (Sorry, Ryan Miller and hockey mates: Wheaties can't abide losers.) ↵

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↵The Last Word: It would be very difficult as a caddie not to know but I'm 100% telling you, I did not know and that's that. I'm a straight-up sort of person. If I had known something was going on, the whistle would have been blown." -- Tiger Woods' caddy Steve Williams, on whether he knew about Tiger's off-course activities. ↵

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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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