Monday, April 6, 2009

Week Four, Round 1

I'm a little behind in updating the Week Four results, so Round 1 now, Round 2 a bit later today and Round 3 tomorrow. Also, a Week three summary and grand total update. The Popular Fiction early round games were all pretty lopsided-- but the Children's bracket results were much more competitive:

Popular Fiction
#2 Robert Ludlum vs. #7 Danielle Steel
Two multi-million selling authors faced off-- but that's pretty much the case with all of the match-ups in the Popular Fiction bracket. In this case, Robert Ludlum's thrillers against Danielle Steel's romantic melodramas. Utilizing the amazing super-spy skills of one of his protagonists, Jason Bourne, Ludlum jumped out to a huge lead, 4-0 at half-time. Danielle bounced back a bit in the second half, but it was too little, too late as Ludlum cruised to an easy 8-2 lead.

#3 Michael Crichton vs. #6 Robert B. Parker
Sam Neill and killer dinosaurs against Tom Selleck as Chief Jesse Stone. Advantage, killer dinosaurs. Parker and his chief protagonist, Stone, hung close to Crichton and his intimidating velociraptors for a half, trailing only 4-3 at the midway point. But after the break, it was all Michael Crichton, playing stifling defense-- aided by the carnage wreaked by the raptors on the members of Parker's team-- en route to a 7-3 victory.

#4 Nora Roberts vs. #5 David Baldacci
Nora Roberts has written over 150 novels of romance, passion and intrigue but she was no match for David Baldacci. The author of Absolute Power and Last Man Standing rolled to a 7-3 victory as the edge-of-the-seat thriller once again outlasted the romance novel, just as in the earlier match-up between Ludlum and Steel.

#1 John Grisham vs. #8 Clive Cussler
Clive Cussler's action-adventure novels helped pioneer the field and have sold millions of copies world-wide. Unfortunately for Clive, his opponent's legal dramas and thrillers have sold even more millions of copies. While it would seem that the action-adventuring marine archaeologist Cussler would have the edge over the courtroom based Grisham, this one was as lopsided as the other games in the Popular Fiction Bracket, with Grisham jumping out to a 4-1 lead and coasting to a 7-3 victory.

Children's Books
#1 Dr. Seuss vs. #8 Shel Silverstein
Shel Silverstein has made a nice career as the children's author who liked to challenge his readers, their parents and the accepted norms of children's writing. He was up to his usual hijinks in the tournament, hanging tough with the incomparable Dr. Seuss despite being a huge underdog coming into the game. The good Doctor might have been looking past Silverstein to an intriguing match-up with either Maurice Sendak (just picture these guys facing off), for he fell behind early to Silverstein and trailed 3-2 at halftime. After a rousing halftime speech by Horton, Dr. Seuss rallied in the second half and at the final buzzer, the score was tied 5-5-- overtime! In the overtime, Silverstein unleashed this guy, and it was all over. Despite a late rally behind Thing 1 and Thing 2, the #1 seed went down to defeat and Shel Silverstein moved on.

#4 J.K. Rowling vs. #5 Maurice Sendak
Hard on the heels of the thrilling overtime upset of Dr. Seuss came another tense, nail-biter. This time it was the 4 and 5 seeds hooking up, with Maurice Sendak's monsters facing off against J.K. Rowling's boy wizard and crew. Sendak's creations jumped out to an early lead as they proved resistant to the spells that Harry, Hermoine and Ron threw at them, and at halftime it was 4-1. In the second half, the wizards gave up on their wands and switched to their brooms, with Harry and Ron's Quidditch skills serving them well as Rowling's team rallied, scoring just before the buzzer for a 5-5 tie and another overtime game. The momentum had swung by then, and it was all Rowling in the extra period, setting up a round 2 match up with #8 Shel Silverstein.

#3 Laura Ingalls Wilder vs. #6 Judy Blume
Two of the first ladies of children's fiction faced off after two riveting first round match ups, and neither the Ingalls clan nor Blume's various protagonists disappointed. It was back and forth from the get go, with Blume taking a slight, early edge, but Ingalls Wilder tied it up, 3-3, at halftime behind some outstanding passing by Ma Ingalls. The second half was a defensive struggle, as both teams seemed to tire down the stretch, and as a late hook shot from Karen Newman bounced off the back of the rim, the score was tied, 5-5, at the end of regulation. Another overtime game! In overtime, the Ingalls turned to Mr. Edwards, and the burly post-player came through big time, overwhelming the smaller Blume squad and leading the third-seeded Ingalls Wilder into the second round.

#2 A.A. Milne vs. #7 L. Frank Baum
After three straight overtime games, the Children's Bracket was due for a blowout, and A.A. Milne was happy to oblige. The creator of Winnie the Pooh, Eyeore, Tigger and Piglet cruised to victory over L. Frank Baum's Oz cast, 7-3. Behind some good point guard work by the Pooh himself, Milne took the early lead. Then, down the stretch, it was Tigger that powered the Milne team, responding with some rim-rocking dunks every time Dorothy and the gang made a run.

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