Presidential 21 Tourney: Round 1 Results
We continue yesterday's madness, with your host, Gordon Gartrelle. Again, you can download your presidential madness bracket HERE...
(1)FDR* 21, (4)Shirley Chisholm 5
Roosevelt justifies top seed in rolling over Chisholm
Franklin Roosevelt started slowly, but eventually exhibited why he is purported to have a one-on-one winning streak over a decade long. Chisholm, for her part, proved to be a fighter, never giving up and playing hard until the very end, but she was simply overmatched. Obviously, Roosevelt’s legendary passing skills are useless in this one-on-one tournament; however, today Roosevelt proved that his remarkable upper body strength, exemplified by his forceful rebounding and his brilliant array of long range hook shots, may be enough to carry him through to the final round.
* Note: Roosevelt agreed to participate in the Tournament one condition: that there be no cameras present to document his matches. The committee agreed to grant his wish.
(2)JFK 21, (3) Joe Lieberman 0
JFK puts the brakes on “Joe-mentum,” shuts out Lieberman
John Kennedy passed his first test of the Tournament with flying colors, demolishing Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman 21-0. It’s been reported that Kennedy was furious about not getting the #1 seed, and he apparently took out his frustrations by toying with and humiliating Lieberman. Kennedy looked marvelous, hitting several impressive shots, including a few spectacular reverse layups. Lieberman did nothing to silence those who said he wasn’t good enough to be invited. He never once drove to the basket, and he dribbled with his back to the hoop for the entire game. After falling behind 17-0, Lieberman seemed to start weeping, and you can’t really blame him. Kennedy’s win sets up a match up with Roosevelt in what promises to be the most anticipated 2nd Round game.
(1)Harry Truman 21, (4)Jesse Jackson 15
Truman’s win marred by Jackson’s incessant foul calls
Harry Truman was apologetic the first four times Jesse Jackson called fouls; he was annoyed after the fourth foul call; and after number five, he simply ignored Jackson’s calls and proceeded to methodically pick Jackson apart. Hitting from everywhere on the court, Truman punished Jackson for failing to capitalize on the extra possessions afforded by the early fouls. While his on court conduct was shameful, Jackson actually showed flashes of brilliance, especially on defense. He showed some hustle and even picked Truman’s pocket a few times. On offense, however, Jackson routinely failed to get separation, which might explain his foul calls. With the win, Truman will go on to face the flashy William Jennings Bryan, who defeated upstart Barack Obama in the other Midwestern Division game.
(2) William Jennings Bryan 21, (3)Barack Obama 18
Late free throw miss dooms Obama against showboating Bryan
In an immensely entertaining contest, William Jennings Bryan survived a near-flawless game from Barack Obama to beat the Illinois Senator 21 to 18. Obama’s lone mistake was a big one: missing a free throw after going up 20 to 15. The miss sent Obama back to 11 and gave Jennings new life. After his huge miss, Obama still almost won. He outscored Bryan 7 to 2 before Bryan scored the last 4 points. Overall, Obama played a well-rounded game indeed: his pestering defense, solid ball handling skills, and lethal mid range pull up jumper were on full display. Bryan, however, provided most of the fireworks. A wizard of trick shots and dazzling handles, Bryan hit more than a few unbelievable circus shots, shouting that he was “The People’s Champ” after sinking every one. Bryan’s win sets up an intriguing match up with top seed Harry Truman. Their contrast in styles—Bryan the showman, Truman the fundamentally sound opportunist—should make for a memorable Division final.
(1)Bill Clinton 21, (4)Hillary Clinton 16
In “Love and Basketball” match up, Slick Willie comes out on top
At first, Bill Clinton took his wife lightly: not going after rebounds, shooting one handed free throws, letting Hillary go to the hole, and smiling all the while. It was apparent that Senator Clinton did not appreciate her husband’s patronizing play, but she scored at every opportunity. When Hillary scored five straight on an uncontested layup and three banked in free throws, Bill found himself down 16-12. After that, Bill’s entire demeanor changed. Not only did he stop smiling, he started blocking every shot that Hillary took, and he began swinging his elbows after every rebound. He made it absolutely clear that he was the better player. And for a moment, Bill actually seemed to enjoy humiliating his wife. After scoring the winning points, Bill bit his lip and gave his wife the thumb point, and then the two shared an icy embrace.
(2)Jimmy Carter 21, (3)Al Gore 14
Carter solid in victory over Gore
This one was not as close as the score indicated. “Leaden” is the only word to describe Gore’s game; it’s a wonder that Golden State didn’t draft him in the ‘90s. By contrast, Carter was a blur, at times appearing to glide across the floor. While Gore didn’t really provide much of a challenge, Carter has a lot of room to improve. He didn’t hit one outside shot, instead relying on his quickness to get to the basket. Carter was somewhat reckless with the ball, losing it several times, but beating the lurching Gore to the loose ball. He’ll certainly need to be more disciplined if he wants to hang with Bill Clinton in Round 2. You can bet that Clinton won’t be fooling around from here on out.
Southern Cracker Division
(1)LBJ 21, (4)Woodrow Wilson 8
LBJ outmuscles, stymies Wilson, 21-8
Woodrow Wilson simply seemed out of his element. Abused in the post, pushed out of the lane, and muscled out of rebounds, Wilson seemed to be looking around for help defense. Lyndon Johnson’s bruising style was a sight to behold. On one memorable play, Wilson hurled himself fell speed into Johnson. Johnson lowered his shoulder and sent Wilson tumbling 20 feet backward. While Johnson is powerful, it’s no secret that he doesn’t move particularly well. We’ll see if that becomes an issue next round vs. the lively George Wallace, who took out his fellow Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond in the earlier game in the Southern Cracker Division.
(2)George Wallace 21, (3) Strom Thurmond 9
Wallace wins the battle of the Dixiecrats due to key shift in strategy
In the early going, both George Wallace and Strom Thurmond employed a conservative, flat footed approach marked by stationary, behind the head set shots. Using this approach, Thurmond went ahead 7 to 5 after 2 hours of play. Wallace saw the writing on the wall: he began attacking with a more aggressive, vertical offensive assault, which ultimately allowed him to win the game using a 16-2 run. While Wallace decided to change up his game, Thurmond stubbornly stuck with his 1950s game—this despite rumors that he plays a modern game in the privacy of his own back yard. Had Thurmond swallowed his pride, perhaps he’d be moving on to face LBJ instead of Wallace.
(1)Teddy Roosevelt 21, (4)Nelson Rockefeller 8
Sharpshooting Roosevelt too much for defensive specialist Rockefeller
Nelson Rockefeller came in to the Tournament known for his lockdown defense and not much else. Roosevelt, of course, is famous for his incredible offensive arsenal. Something had to give. In this match up, offense trumped defense. Roosevelt was lights out, taking all but two of his shots from deep. Rockefeller actually played solid D, but T.R. was just feeling it—no one could have stopped him on this night. Roosevelt faces pundit Pat Buchanan in Round 2.
(3)Pat Buchanan 21, (2)Bush Sr. 14
Buchanan upsets Bush 41with low post dominance
Pat Buchanan took full advantage of his size advantage over George Bush. Buchanan scored all of his field goals on the right block. While his moves were somewhat predictable, especially his head-fake up and under and his baseline fadeaway, they worked for this game. George Bush’s loss eliminates the possibility of the father-son Bush contest, so for now, Sr. can devote all his energies toward rooting for Jr. Although Buchanan should be thrilled with his win, the victory places him in the unenviable position of having to play the hottest man in the tournament, Teddy Roosevelt.
(1)Abraham Lincoln 21, (4)Gerald Ford 18
“Honest Abe”avoids upset; ekes out victory over unlucky Ford
Gerald Ford nearly pulled off the upset of the Tournament, taking #1 seed Abraham Lincoln to the wire before losing 21 to 18. Ford should have won this game. He twice had to go back to 11 after squandering opportunities to win. The second time, Ford went to the line with the score tied at 17. He sank 2 free throws, meaning that he had to miss the third on purpose in order to ensure that his next field goal didn’t take him back to 11. Yet Ford, rattled in the free throw, despite trying to miss. Such lapses were common for Ford. For instance, he gave away two separate possessions by failing to clear the ball after a Lincoln miss, and Lincoln scored after both. Ford’s mental mistakes and bad luck overshadows how talented a player he is. Ford dominated most of the game on his natural athletic ability. Lincoln, on the other hand, looked extremely awkward. He shot half of his shots off of the wrong leg and most of his layups were weird two-handed scoops. In no way did Lincoln look like a top seed, but he has a chance to redeem himself against Dick Cheney, who outwitted Bob Dole in the late game.
(3)Dick Cheney 21, (2)Bob Dole 0
Cheney’ upsets Dole following mid-game rule change
This was, by far, the weakest game of the 1st Round. Neither player is very refined. Cheney has very little lateral movement, and dole cannot dribble with his right hand. The less said about the actual gameplay, the better. The most interesting part of the game came as Cheney, who trailed 14 to 19 at the time, somehow convinced Bob Dole to agree to a rule change in the middle of the game. Cheney proposed that the player who reaches 21 first be forced to make a 3 pointer in order to win and that missing said 3 pointer should result in the shooter’s score going back to 0. When Dole agreed, he sealed his fate. The new rule placed him at a significant disadvantage given his lack of range. When Dole went up 21-14, he missed the subsequent 3 and lost all of his points; when Cheney went up 21-0, he bounced in his 3, sealing the win. Dole will have plenty of time to think about why on earth he consented to Cheney’s mid-game rule change. Cheney will now take on #1 seed Abe Lincoln, whose stock has dropped considerably since he almost lost to Gerald Ford.
(1)Dwight Eisenhower 21, (4)Douglas MacArthur 19
Two Generals go to War; Ike prevails
Given that he doesn’t really fit the formal selection criteria, MacArthur had no business being in this tournament. Several pundits have offered that his tireless self-promotion is what got him invited (MacArthur’s ubiquitous “D Mac” t shirts and other memorabilia speak to his marketing commitment). Even though MacArthur probably shouldn’t have been here, MacArthur proved that his talent should not have ever entered into that discussion. By playing top Southern seed Dwight Eisenhower so closely, MacArthur silenced the vast majority of his critics. This was a back and forth slugfest with multiple lead changes, hard fouls, and no easy points. Eisenhower broke the long-time 19-19 with a fantastic double spin move and short jumper. Ike will battle George W. Bush in the Southern Division final.
(2)George W. Bush 21, (3)David Duke 4
Bush burns paper tiger Duke with impressive crossover
All the talk about players fearing David Duke didn’t stop George W. Bush from demolishing him 21 to 4. Bush used an effective crossover dribble to shake David Duke multiple times for easy hoops. In an embarrassing performance, Duke managed only 2 baskets throughout the entire game. Bush must now prepare for the Southern Division final, where he’ll face #1 Dwight Eisenhower, who won a close game against Douglas MacArthur.
(1)Ronald Reagan 21, (4)John McCain 10
Reagan soars; McCain crashes and burns
This game was a study in contrasts. McCain was undisciplined, frequently getting burned after gambling for steals; Reagan was measured. McCain frequently lost his temper, cursing himself after every missed play (once he even drop kicked the ball after letting Reagan score off of an offensive rebound); Reagan was calm throughout. McCain missed several free throws; Reagan pretty much won this one at the line, missing only once. Reagan is the consummate professional and the perfect example of how to play the game the right way. Nixon awaits Reagan in the Western Division final, a game that has already been dubbed “The Saint vs. The Taint.”
(2)Richard Nixon 17, (3)Barry Goldwater 16 (forfeit)
Injury forces Goldwater to forfeit game to “Tricky Dick”
In his contest against Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon used every trick in the book: jersey-grabbong, yelling during free throws, putting a hand directly in his opponent’s face. Goldwater wasn’t fazed by Nixon’s physical play, though, which seemed to really upset Nixon. After missing a jumpshot from the left baseline, Goldwater suffered a serious knee sprain when he landed on Nixon’s foot. Goldwater was irate, screaming that Nixon did it intentionally, but Nixon denied it and appeared visibly shaken when Goldwater went down. When Goldwater confirmed that he couldn’t continue 35 minutes after the.injury occurred, Nixon earned the right to face #1 seed and fellow Californian Ronald Reagan. Hopefully Nixon’s game with Reagan will erase the bad taste left by this game.