With only the final two brackets in play, the final 8 are taking shape: Evanovich, Wells, Superman, Twain, Sandburg and Deaver have all already punched their ticket to Week Five. Looking to join them are Silverstein, Rowling, Ingalls Wilder, Milne, Ludlum, Crichton, Baldacci and Grisham. But only two of those eight can advance... who will it be?
#4 J.K. Rowling vs. #8 Shel Silverstein
After a bracket destroying upset of Dr. Seuss-- the #1 seed and the overwhelming fan favorite to win the bracket-- some wondered how much Shel Silverstein would have left against the #4 seed, J.K. Rowling. Initially, the answer seemed to be: Plenty. Silverstein jumped ahead, 3-0, but then perhaps some fatigue did set in as Rowling slowly, methodically and relentless cut into the lead. At halftime it was 3-3. After the break, Silverstein seemed to get his second wind and again jumped ahead, 5-3, but it was deja vu all over again as once more Rowling reeled him in, 5-4, then 5-5. With time running out, Rowling drove to the basket and Silverstein couldn't get his feet set before the collision, leading to a blocking violation and a free throw for Rowling. She calmly swished the shot and was headed to the Sweet Sixteen as Silverstein's last ditch heave ho from half court clanged off the side of the basket.
#2 A.A. Milne vs. #3 Laura Ingalls Wilder
With star point guard, Winnie-the-Pooh, running the show and the veeerrrry bouncy Tigger manning the middle, A.A. Milne's team entered its second round match up poised and confident. Opposing them was half-pint, Pa, Ma, Mr. Edwards and Mary-- this last an odd choice, given that she is blind. But, L.I.W. must have had a plan, for it was Mary that stripped a visibly surpised Rabbit, then dished a beautiful pass to a streaking Ma Ingalls for the game's first point. From then on, the 100-acre wood crew paid attention to Mary. The game see-sawed back and forth, tight throughout, and the final result was in question until the very last minute. The Ingalls had the ball and Pa brought the ball down court, looked for first-round hero, Mr. Edwards, inside but elected to pass over to Laura on the wing as Tigger had Mr. Edwards boxed out. The pass wasn't bad, but it was a little soft and Owl was able to swoop in, snatch it out of half-pint's hands and soar to the other basket for the winning shot, sending A.A. Milne into a 3rd round battle with J.K. Rowling, already being hailed as the "Battle of the Initial Initials!"
Popular Fiction Bracket
#2 Robert Ludlum vs. #3 Michael Crichton
Jesse Stone had been no match for Michael Crichton's velociraptors, but how would Jason Bourne fare against the killer reptiles? This battle was tight throughout, with Bourne's amazing speed and dexterity keeping him out of reach of the dinosaur's razor sharp claws and teeth. A few well-placed martial arts' blows also made the reptiles a bit hesitant to attack Bourne directly and at halftime, it was Ludlum 3, Crichton 2. Crichton's crew regrouped at halftime and came out fired up, but though they tied the score at 3, 4 and 5 they could not pull ahead of Ludlum's team. Then, they unleased the Andromeda Strain, and it was game over, 6-5 Crichton. Afterwards, Crichton defended the use of the deadly bio-organism, "Well, some will say it is unethical, releasing a deadly biological organism in an effort to win, but this is the big leagues. You do what you gotta do." Ludlum and his team were unavailable for comment, having died from the devastating effects of the Andromeda Strain.
#1 John Grisham vs. #5 David Baldacci
Baldacci was a surprise winner over Nora Roberts in the first round, but most pundits gave him little chance to upset John Grisham in the second round. Baldacci used the perceived slight to motivate his players, and they jumped out to a quick lead and the game was tied at halftime. In the second half the momentum seemed to flow back and forth, leaving the game tied as Grisham came down court for one last possession. Like the consumate professional that he is, he ground the clock down, then drove left, pulled up and let the final shot fly... swish, nothing but net.