Today's Calls: UConn vs. History, Duke vs. Fans, Brad Stevens vs. David Letterman, Tiger Woods vs. Masters broadcasters, Marco Scutaro vs. Theo Epstein, Barry Zito vs. Dallas Braden, Jake Peavy vs. John Lackey, Sam Bradford vs. Tim Tebow, Steve Donahue vs. ACC recruiting, Brett Favre vs. Grandparenthood, Deron Williams vs. Kevin Durant, Jennifer Hudson vs. Luther Vandross, Lionel Messi vs. Anyone and More.
The Opening Pitch: Greatest basketball team ever? Watching the 1st half of the women's hoops title game last night, you would never think UConn was on the short list.
Even more staggering than the Huskies' 78-game winning streak or 7th national title was watching this juggernaut get held to 12 points in the 1st half.
One half, 12 points? In a national title game? (Forget in a title game: How about ever? Not for UConn.)
Of course, the slow start (understatement!) made UConn's surge (inevitable!) in the 2nd half all the more impressive.
Let's chalk up the 12-point half to adding a little character to what otherwise has been a relatively monotonous swath of destruction this team has created over the past two seasons:
Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win.
Baked into that: They became the first college basketball team of the modern era -- men or women -- to win back-to-back national titles, going undefeated through both seasons.
Geno Auriemma -- in his unique style -- continues to insist that his 2002 team would crush this 2010 version. The 12-point half becomes his best data point.
But that doesn't take away this team's legacy: The repeat unbeaten championships. The Streak.
Next up: 100 straight. And a 3rd straight title.
Duke as Champs: The Day After. The Crazies are happy, but it is Butler coach Brad Stevens who is doing Letterman. Part of that is because Letterman is an Indiana guy, but another part of that is because Butler -- not the champs -- are the story of the Tournament.
Tiger Watch: I love how the broadcasters are insisting that the Masters is bigger than Tiger and that the Tiger story has been covered so well that they don't need to really talk about it. They have to say that, of course, but let's all acknowledge that the only reason 90 percent of the fans will tune in is for Tiger.
(That Augusta National won't let ESPN actually show Woods' round beyond the network’s allotted broadcast slot from 4-7 pm -- and Tiger's tee shot on No. 1 at 1:42 p.m. ET -- is entirely ludicrous. Twitter will be a more reliable source of information.)
MLB Talking Points: Defense? What defense?*So much for Boston's big plan for "run prevention"*Don't forget about the Rays in the East!*Hey, look at that: Zito pitched well!*Tracking today: Peavy, Lackey
NBA Finale Week: 279 combined points for the Jazz and Thunder, in a game that included OT, a near-buzzer-beater by Deron Williams (career-high 42); a controversial block/non-foul at the end of the game involving Kevin Durant (who had 45); and an impact on the West standings (the Jazz move into 2nd). NBA Game of the Year?
(You know who was most concerned about Chris Bosh's broken-face injury last night? The teams like the Knicks and Nets who plan to make a run at him as a free agent this summer.)
NFL Draft: SN's latest mock has Tim Tebow as a 2nd-rounder -- but there are increasing signals that he will go in the 1st. (This puts draftniks in a bind: None of them actually rate Tebow as a 1st-round talent, yet their mocks are a mockery if they don't reflect the "reality" of where players will actually go.)
CBB Coaching Carousel: Steve Donahue is reportedly leaving Cornell for Boston College. Timing-wise, he will never have a team or season as good as he just had. Regionally, he's staying close -- but I wonder how well he will be able to recruit after two decades as an Ivy coach now trying to compete with the bigger schools. (For an analogue, look at how Bill Carmody did going from Princeton to Northwestern; it took Carmody 10 years -- and a fresh, young assistant who crushes recruiting -- to start recruiting decently. Donahue won't have that kind of time.)
Birth Announcements: Parker Brett, grandson of Brett Favre, was born yesterday, making Favre the only grandfather among NFL players.
World Records: The Angels topped the Cavs for the record for number of fans wearing "fleece blankets" in one place. The "can you top this?" Snuggie war is so on.
YouTube Clip of the Day: Re-mixing "One Shining Moment" to remove Jennifer Hudson and include more of the memorable basketball storylines.
Crime and Punishment: Is Maurice Clarett going to get out of jail today? Someone call Mike Shanahan! (Can you imagine if Clarett joined Portis, Fast Willie and LJ in the Redskins backfield?)
The Last Word: "We do need to have many, many more Jason Heywards." -- Hank Aaron, on the dearth of African-American baseball players.
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.â†µ
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