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ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia: The Complete History of the Men's Game Hardcover – October 6, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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“A great history book and argument settler, with countless stories about the game’s biggest stars, best teams and most enduring traditions.”—Lute Olson
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1232 pages
  • Publisher: ESPN (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345513924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345513922
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 2.2 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #865,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Allaer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 9, 2009
The new college basketball season is about to start a month from now, and just in time for that, ESPN has published this massive (and I mean massive) coffee-table book on the history of men's college baskteball.

"ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia: The Complete History of the Men's Game" (1,213 pages) is a delight for any fan of men's college basketball. This massive (and did I say massive?) coffee-table book is in fact several books into one. The first 50 pages or so bring various essays about the men's college basketball history, including a nice one from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on how blacks made it into the game. There is also an irrevent look on some totally unexpected Sweet 16 teams, just fun to read. The next 500 pages or so bring a team-by-team review of the top 250 programs in the country (each getting 2 pages). The next 600 pages or so bring a review of the NCAA tournaments from the first days until last year's and again it is a delight to flip through and read whatever strikes your fancy.

The book also brings a rating of the all-time best programs (UK is rated No. 1, ahead of UCLA), as well as a rating decade-by-decade. As a fan of the Xavier Musketeers (the small Jesuit school here in Cincinnati), I was quite pleased to see the program rated No. 24 in the most recent decade. That aside, this book has a treasure of information for any college basketball fan. Can't wait to get the new season started!
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I was expecting a lot of information on each team. The book provides that, but in the form of all the records for each team along with conference records and the ncaa tournament brackets. I was hoping for that information and a couple pages of text on each team to go along with it so I could learn about the different colleges and get a feel for their basketball programs through the years. This book did not provide that extra feel.
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Well I'll just start off by saying that I don't agree with the program ratings at all! I expected my school, which shall remain nameless, to have been ranked higher (is it a non-bcs school thing? geographic thing? who knows). So I compared some of the tournament statistics they gave with other schools that were ranked above, and this only added to my confusion as to what criteria they used to rank the programs. With that said, given this is a review of the book, and not my personal opinion or disappointment with the rankings, I found this to be a great collection of facts and statistics. It even lists Top 25 rankings throughout each season. I've been a huge college baskeball fan since I was in my early teens so it was nice to flash back to the past. Overall, it's a pretty complete book and if you're a true fan of the game, you'll really enjoy this book.
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For a sport that prides itself on its rich history and traditions, this book exemplifies much of what is great about college basketball. You have terrific stories, accounts of the many gripping games, and a profile of every season and school that has played Division 1 college basketball. I believe that this is the only book of its kind.

First about the book's format and content. The book begins with an introduction and several essays written by famous people from the college basketball world, both players and coaches. Then the meat of the book is the page by page alphabetical profiles of all the schools that play Division 1 college basketball. Each profile is concise and informative. Profiles provide the school's best season, coach, player, a game for the ages, a heartbreaker game to remember, notes about the fanbase, biggest rival, and then has a yearly breakdown of the team's record, as well as some stats on all-time won-loss record, NBA first round picks, All-American players, etc. This is the core of the book, and could entertain a fan for weeks. I have been reading this book during some mealtimes, going alphabetically and reading a few profiles in each sitting. It's a lot of fun to see the history that each school has, and one really develops an appreciation for how this great sport means so much to so many, and how it brings different people together. Regardless of how different the various fans are, each school has had heartbreak, triumph, and some tradition.

The next section of the book is an annual breakdown of every college basketball season. This includes the final standins of every conference, box scores of every NCAAT game starting with the Sweet Sixteen round, and final AP rankings.
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I got this for my brother when he was just starting to get into college basketball. My husband (a longtime basketball fan) and my brother spent hours the first Christmas looking over this book and quizzing each other. They continue to bring it out when we get together to talk about stats, etc.
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Big book with lots and lots of data. My brother-in-law loves it and can spend many hours checking his facts.
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This is my new favorite book. As a huge college b-ball fan, which is a direct result of being a huge IU fan, this is the ultimate coffee table book. I can pick this up any time and look at the many random facts and stats for hours. One night I forgot who the 4th team was in the 2003 Final Four and I spent over an hour looking at all NCAA tournaments and full seasons tracing back to the amazing 1976 season. The last undefeated team ever 1976 Hoosiers! Just wanted to point that out. If you like College Basketball, this is a must own book.
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