Shanoff's WUC: UConn, Bubble, Big East, More

Today's Calls: UConn vs. History, Gonzaga vs. the Bubble, Big Ben vs. Ray Lewis, Sam Bradford vs. the Rams, Seneca Wallace vs. Tim Tebow, Rich Rodriguez vs. Dave Brandon, Ndamukong Suh vs. Gerald McCoy, Ewing vs. Carmelo and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: We are off to an excellent start of the 4-week sprint where college hoops rules: ↵

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↵UConn set a new women's hoops record for consecutive wins. (I think they'll hit 100, but 71 is meaningless if they don't win the title this season.) ↵

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↵• Wofford makes its first NCAA Tournament ever, which is always an amazingly fun milestone for a school. ↵

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↵• Did St. Mary's just burst another team's bubble? They weren't locks for the Tournament, so upending Gonzaga for the WCC automatic bid gives Gonzaga an at-large ... and leaves one team at the margin out in the cold. (Watch for a similar effect tonight in the Horizon final: Butler is a Tournament lock; if Wright State beats the Bulldogs, another Bubble spot is claimed.) ↵

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↵• How deep is the Big East Tournament? Half of its field is already locks for the Tournament, and yet three teams playing in today's prelim round (USF, UConn, Seton Hall) still have a shot at an NCAA at-large invite. ↵

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↵• SN weighs in with its postseason awards Coach (Jim Boeheim, appropriately) and All-Americans (5 guards on the 1st team, which I love). ↵

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↵Of course, all the awards in the world don't mean anything if you don't do anything in the NCAA Tournament. ↵

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↵SN All-America Fun Fact: Back in 2003, SN had the only mainstream All-American team with Carmelo on the 1st team. If the others re-did their teams after the Tournament, I presume Melo would make the cut. ↵

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↵The Anti-Woffords: Siena is back in the Tournament yet again, as is Old Dominion, another Tournament vet. (Tonight's auto-bids: Horizon, Summit, Sun Belt.) ↵

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↵My only gripe about the SN A-A team? I think DeMarcus Cousins should have made the 1st team. ↵

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↵Big (Ben) Trouble: Innocent until proven guilty, of course, but you wouldn't hire the lawyer who got Ray Lewis acquitted of murder charges if things weren't ... complicated. ↵

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↵New SN Mock: Sam Bradford is up at No. 1, going to the Rams. This before anyone knows anything about the state of his shoulder -- not just whether he can make the throws on an Oklahoma practice field, but whether he can get slammed to the ground multiple times per game over multiple 16-game seasons. (For example, Bradford isn't even ready for Oklahoma's pro day today. His private workout is still two weeks away.) ↵

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↵Tebow Watch: Don't read too much into his "I've been a Jaguar fan my whole life" comment. First, he was on Jacksonville radio. Second, who cares? If he's drafted by the Bills, it's not like he'll say "Wow, I really wanted to be in Jacksonville." ↵

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↵(Meanwhile, the Seahawks trading backup QB Seneca Wallace means that Seattle needs a new QB to sit behind Matt Hasselbeck. They are also one of the teams reportedly looking for a private audience with Tebow. But Tebow is closer to Wallace than a classic "Pete Carroll QB" -- I'm still not sure he makes sense in the Pacific NW.) ↵

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↵NBA Talking Points: If the jersey said "Lakers," not "Mavs," we would surely be talking about a 12-game win streak as a signal that the team is ready to win the West. Not sure if this current streak indicates anything about the Mavs' long-term postseason chances. (On the other end, there is woeful symbolism for the Hawks that they lost to the Knicks for the third time this season. That's just terrible.) ↵

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↵MLB Spring Training: My question for Cardinals fans is whether you are satisfied merely being a division winner, or whether there will be some crack in the genteel facade if they don't make it to the World Series. ↵

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↵NASCAR: I am totally fascinated by NASCAR's position of having to walk the precarious balance between "Boys, Have At It" and what Carl Edwards did on Sunday. ↵

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↵RichRod Job Security Watch: "He's our coach for this season." That sounds like support -- but qualified support -- from new Michigan AD Dave Brandon, about "this season's" head coach, Rich Rodriguez. ↵

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↵Nostalgia: I was watching a show last night about the Top 10 players in Big East history, and it got me thinking who would make my list: (1) Ewing, (2) Carmelo, (3) Mullin, (4) Pearl, (5) Coleman, (6) Iverson, (7) Mourning, (8) Donovan, (9) Douglas, (10) Allen. Apologies to all snubees. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "Some people think that he's too nice. He's not tough enough." -- Gerald McCoy, about draft rival Ndamukong Suh. Hmm: Just in time for McCoy's pro day today. (BTW, McCoy has dropped to No. 6 -- Seattle -- in SN's latest mock draft.) ↵

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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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