The seasonal madness of the NCAA basketball tournament played against the ongoing folly that is Las Vegas: it’s hard to find a more combustible admixture in sports, but Zaremba, a communications professor at Northeastern University, conveys it all with cool wit. His idea: travel to Vegas two days before the 2007 tournament and write a six-day diary of what he observes among the various casinos and their “sports books,” those auditoriums where gamblers (fans, really) can watch dozens of games while placing a range of bets. Zaremba can’t resist laying down bets himself—his “research” confirms for him yet again, for instance, that he can lose a lot of money quickly at the blackjack table—yet he is detached enough to explain how the system works and to record the events and singular characters as they reveal themselves. Although the action takes place in Las Vegas, the book makes it easy to extrapolate this subtext of March Madness playing itself out nationwide. A sleeper of a book.
"The seasonal madness of the NCAA basketball tournament played against the ongoing folly that is Las Vegas: it's hard to find a more combustible admixture in sports, but Zaremba . . . conveys it all with cool wit. . . . Although the action takes place in Las Vegas, the book makes it easy to extrapolate this subtext of March Madness playing itself out nationwide. A sleeper of a book." --Alan Moores, Booklist
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"Alan Jay Zaremba . . . has captured the excitement, the color, the flavor and craziness of college basketball betting in Las Vegas in his new book, The Madness of March. . . . This book itself is like a travelogue of places, people, concepts, conspiracy theories and if Hunter Thompson were alive today, he'd embrace the author, who captures the moments and rides the roller coaster of emotions with the bettors." --Howard Schwartz, gamblersbook.com
"If you've ever wondered why scads of post-college guys spend the better part of a week living on beer and hot wings while feverishly analyzing their next wager, you'll get an answer in Zaremba's book. . . . I'm not being ironic when I say that The Madness of March is a lock. It's an essential read for anyone who wants to get a better window on one of the more interesting gambling and sports subcultures." David G. Schwartz, dieiscast.com
"Professor Alan Zaremba chronicles the scene in Las Vegas during the opening weekend of the 2007 NCAA Tournament. . . . The result is a fascinating, often humorous, look into the lives of the (mostly) men who converge on the desert every March with their "locks" and "sure thing" picks. . . . One of the best books I've read this year." --Jeff Fox, hoopsmanifesto.blogspot.com