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With its oral history format, CBS Sports Presents is a useful companion to March Madness. It examines the thrills--and agonies--of 21 Final Fours going back to the early '50s. Along the way, it stops to focus on Wilt Chamberlain; the UCLA juggernaut; the 1966 Texas Western-Kentucky confrontation with racial implications far beyond the court; the 1979 game that first shone a national spotlight on Magic and Bird; and on into the '80s and '90s with Duke, North Carolina, Georgetown, Villanova, UConn, and, of course, NC State's improbable victory over Houston. Each Final Four comes with scores, all-tourney teams, and the requisite factoids; there's even a section for TV junkies on how CBS prepares for and covers the event.
As editor, Fulks is smart enough to avoid replaying the events from a reporter's distance. Once he's set the scene, he moves off camera and lets the participants themselves recall the action, the glory, and the heartbreak through their own eyes and in their own voices. His roster of first-person accounts is impressive--Lovelette, John Wooden, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Kent Benson, Denny Crum, Guy Lewis, Steve Alford, Billy Tubbs, Mike Krzyzewski--all add color, immediacy, perspective, and some fascinating analysis from the inside. Still, it's the names scratched from the lineup--Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Grant Hill, Rollie Massimino, Christian Laettner, Bobby Knight, Dean Smith, and anyone from the '66 championship Miners--that so tantalize. CBS Presents would have only benefited by hearing from them. --Jeff Silverman