Shanoff's WUC: Big 12, NBA Game 6, World Cup

Today's Calls: Texas vs. the Big 12, Lakers vs. Celtics, Tim Howard vs. Slovenia, Tom Izzo vs. Decision-Making, FIFA vs. Vuvuzela-haters, Stephen Strasburg vs. Awards, Derrick Favors vs. DeMarcus Cousins, Charles Barkley vs. Steve Kerr, Elvis Dumervil vs. Derrelle Revis and More. ↵

↵Texas logoThe Opening Pitch: Is it still the "Big 12?" ↵

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↵Because I'm surprised the Longhorns didn't insist the league be renamed the "Big Texas." Why not: UT demanded nearly everything else as tribute for rejecting the Pac-10 and keeping the Big 12 alive. ↵

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↵In the end, Texas decided they would rather be the biggest baron in a smaller fiefdom than the king of the entire West. ↵

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↵More power to them, but let's be clear: The key piece is Texas insisting on keeping their own TV rights, in addition to being the centerpiece of the still-fictitious (and fictitiously lucrative) Big 12 TV network. This makes UT nothing less self-serving than Notre Dame with a better P.R. team. ↵

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↵UT pulled off a trick by singlehandedly "saving" the Big 12 — with the other hand, they were pocketing as much cash as possible. ↵

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↵Texas extracting their own TV deal is very important, because unless Dan Beebe has some sort of deal in place already, I have a hard time seeing how he will pull off the promised huge TV money to his member schools. ↵

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↵So while the rest of the Big 12 struggles when Beebe can't make his payments — costless pledges made in a desperate moment — Texas will be cashing in on its own sweet deal, running even more roughshod over the rest of the league than it has previously. ↵

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↵The "revitalized" 10-team Big 12 is more accurately described as "The Big 1 (plus the Subservient 9)." ↵

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↵What next? The Pac-11 will likely try to get Utah, which would be a smart move. The Big 12 could try to grab two replacements, but I doubt Texas is interested in the best available team, TCU. Why dilute the cash? The SEC will stand pat; you get the sense they never really wanted to expand anyway. ↵

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↵NBA Finals Game 6: We are assured of one of two amazing results — either the Celtics humiliate the Lakers in L.A. to win their 18th NBA title or the Lakers take back the momentum in front of the home crowd just in time for the series' final game. ↵

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↵(As to this point about these Celtics winning despite a lack of identity, I would argue this: They are the 2.0 version of the "heart-of-a-champion" 1995 Rockets — perhaps with a little more star power, but with no less of a champ's surge when it matters most.) ↵

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↵USA in the World Cup: Tim Howard will play versus Slovenia on Friday. Given that he is the USMNT's best player, arguably the best GK in the world right now and the emotional heart of the U.S. (certainly its iffy defense), this is very good news. ↵

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↵World Cup Monday: Was everyone rooting against Italy tying up its game with Paraguay, or was that just me? ↵

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↵World Cup Today: ↵
↵— Early morning: New Zealand-Slovakia (F) ↵
↵— Mid-morning: Ivory Coast-Portugal* (G) ↵
↵— Mid-afternoon: Brazil-North Korea (G) ↵
↵(* - Match of the Day)
↵— Full World Cup schedule ↵ ↵

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↵Vuvuzelas Controversy: Saved! Credit FIFA for ignoring the imperialistic haters and maintaining this small (if noisy) nod to local culture. The fans win here. ↵

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↵Tom Izzo Update: So Team LeBron might be sending signals through the media to Izzo, but the Cavs' would-be coach won't actually get to talk with LeBron about the star's intentions (like LeBron would give anyone — let alone a coach — a heads-up). ↵

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↵Meanwhile, Izzo continues to do the same thing with Michigan State that LeBron is doing with the Cavs. We roundly criticize LeBron for the way he is leaving Cleveland hanging; why don't folks say the same thing about Izzo? He is acting like a diva — will LeBron appreciate that? ↵

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↵Strasburg Mania: NL Player of the Week. Well of course. ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points: ↵

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↵— Quake in San Diego: Sounds scary ↵

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↵— Pujols Watch: Boinked, then doing the boinking ↵

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↵— No offense to Nava, but this is creepy ↵

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↵— Fantasy Stud: TOR C John Buck (2 HR) ↵

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↵— Latest Power Poll: NL West-heavy ↵

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↵NBA Draft: Could next Monday's head-to-head workout between Derrick Favors and DeMarcus Cousins determine the league's No. 3 pick (after John Wall and Evan Turner)? Very, very possible. At the very least — presuming the Nets take Favors — it could ensure Cousins goes in the Top 5. ↵

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↵NFL Offseason: Elvis Dumervil signs a deal; Darrelle Revis is still waiting (or pouting) on his. ↵

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↵Vince Young is sorry: "I made a mistake." Hmm, you think? ↵

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↵NHL Offseason: Happy retirement, Rob Blake. ↵

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↵The Last Word: Turrible. That is my one-word analysis of how Charles Barkley would do as an NBA GM. Stick with TV, Chuck. ↵

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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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