For whatever reason, I have always been fascinated by William Henry Harrison. Today is the former President’s birthday, best known for serving the shortest term in history, one month in office. Legend has it that Harrison contracted pneumonia while giving his Inauguration speech, although most now agree he had the symptoms before the famously awful weather on his big day. Harrison’s Presidency is known for nothing, except creating the best campaign slogan in political history with the “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” phrase that celebrated his battle over the Sewanee Indians at the Tippecanoe river. Historically, Tippecanoe’s most important legacy is suring up the Succession plan for American Presidents, as his death caused a Constitutional crisis, as people wondered if the Vice President was authorized to have the position permanently and whether there would be an immediate election. Soon after Harrison’s death, an Act was passed dealing with the issue and changes have been made, culminating in the 25th Amendment. That amendment was passed in 1967 and now school kids have to memorize the Succession Plan, which now looks like this:
Vice President (Joe Biden)
Speaker of the House (Nancy Pelosi)
President Pro Tempore of the Senate (Robert Byrd)
Secretary of State (Hillary Clinton)
Secretary of the Treasury (Timothy Geithner)
Secretary of Defense (Robert Gates)
Attorney General (Eric Holder)
Secretary of the Interior (Ken Salazar)
Secretary of Agriculture (Tom Vilasack)
Secretary of Commerce (Gary Locke)
Secretary of Labor (Hilda Solis)
Secretary of Health and Human Services (Kathleen Sebelius)
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (Shawn Donovan)
Secretary of Transportation (Ray Lahood)
Secretary of Energy (Stephen Chu)
Secretary of Education (Anne Duncan)
Secretary of Veterans Affairs (Eric Sheneski)
Secretary of Homeland Security (Janet Napolitano)
So there you go…you probably didnt know that a guy named “Eric Sheneski) was only 17 heartbeats from the Presidency…but he is. Some notes:
— Tonight is the big game against the Alabama Crimson Tide, which means homecoming of sorts for two Alabama natives. Demarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe are both from Alabama and each has pointed to this game for some time. In my first ever interview with Boogie back on Media Day, he told me that the two biggest games of the year for him were North Carolina and Alabama. Similarly, earlier this year Eric Bledsoe told me that he couldnt wait for Alabama, so he could play for the people he grew up around. This game means something special to those guys and it will be interesting to see how they harness that energy tonight.
— For Demarcus Cousins, his excitement about this game is obvious. He downplayed it a bit in today’s interview session, but it has been a strong theme in the past. Part of it is because he is a huge Alabama fan and loves their football team. But also it is likely due in part to his relationship with the state as a whole. He took a lot of criticism in high school from Alabama basketball types and I think he sees this game as a chance to showcase for many of his detractors.
— Calipari of course says he is worried about Alabama (he is worried about every team), but points out that they do have more talent than they are given credit for. The Tide are a team that put together strange “feast/famine” type games, such as against Ole Miss this past weekend, when they went up 20 and then the Rebels came back and won in the second half. When the Tide play well, they can make runs…but overall they have been wildly inconsistent and the Cats should have little problem taking care of business.
— The color commentator tonight is Jay Williams of Duke fame, who has slowly risen through the ESPN ranks. For my money, Williams is the second best (and by far the most tolerable) modern Duke (I hate Laettner, but he is #1) and is my favorite player for my least favorite program.
— You gotta love the absurdity of Pat Forde. In a game between Texas and Kansas, Forde pulls out a stat from the 1984 Final Four in order to showcast Texas’ ineptitude by comparing it to the Kentucky team’s 3-33 shooting in that game. I am one who generally believes that talk of “national media bias” towards UK is silly. But when it comes to Forde, his dislike of Kentucky (spurred on by his dislike of Calipari) borders on the surreal.
— The student ticket lottery was full again. I had lots of students write me and complain about the new system, but I admit that I didnt understand it or its implications. Once again, hardcore fandom is not rewarded, but I am not sure what else the school can do. The record crowds at these events this year have been impressive however and the students deserve a lot of credit.
— Impressive win tonight for Villanova, but it actually tells me less about them than West Virginia. As I pick my “you can book it that the national champion will come from one of these five” teams for this year’s tournament, the fifth spot is still up for grabs (I have UK, Kansas, Syracuse and Michigan State) in the other four. I considered West Virginia, but ultimately dont think they have the horses. The fifth may just be which team is the hottest come tournament time.
— Vienna Padgett made it through another round. This was the most boring episode yet as they tone down the crazy for the “visits home.” At this point the “KSR Bachelor” seems like it may have to happen.
— If you havent yet, read Beisner’s story on Arizona. I predict you will see more such issues popping up in the coming years with major college programs. Such relationships between fan sites/AAU teams/AAU tournaments, etc and schools are tough to weed out, but they occur in many places. Good stuff from the Beez.
More all day as we get ready for the Tide. Its Wimp Sanderson Day and the possibility of a picture of one of our rivals’ players hitting the national media is likely. Just remember where it might have originated. 😉