Talking Points: Epic futility at its finest

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What's the buzz from the world of sports? Here are some items that will have people talking:

1

We watch sports hoping to see epic greatness, but epic futility can be nearly as entertaining.

Witness Northern Illinois, which scored four points in the first half of Saturday's loss to Eastern Michigan. That's a Division I men's basketball team (allegedly) scoring four points in 20 minutes of basketball.

The Huskies went 1 for 31 from the field, at one point missing 29 consecutive shots and paving the way for an eventual 42-25 defeat. On the other hand, the NIU sports information department delivered a valiant performance by referring to the game as Northern Illinois' "best defensive performance in seven years."

Four points in a half broke the NCAA Division I record for fewest points during the shot-clock era. That's bad, but here's the worst part: NIU broke the record of five it set earlier this season.

2

The Washington Nationals' newest racing president may have to drop a few pounds to be competitive. The team has chosen William Howard Taft to join George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt this season for the fourth-inning race by 12-foot mascots at Nationals Park.

Taft was the portliest president at more than 300 pounds. He became the first president to throw out a ceremonial first pitch, at Washington's Griffith Stadium on April 14, 1910, and he often is credited with inventing the seventh-inning stretch.

The move is the second-biggest surprise surrounding the racing presidents in recent months. After losing more than 500 times since the team began the races in 2006, Teddy won for the first time on the final day of last year's regular season.

It is worth noting that the last time Roosevelt and Taft ran against each other, the eventual winner was Woodrow Wilson.

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