The Ultimate Book of March Madness: The Players, Games, and Cinderellas that Captivated a Nation is a fantastic book that does a great job giving a well organized history of the NCAA Tournament. This book's section on each year's NCAA tournament has more detail than Wikipedia's weak NCAA tournament articles. It was also interesting to learn about the origins of tournamnet and it's development into College Basketball's biggest event. My 1 criticism is that I don't like there were 5 years for which the year's champion was not the main focus. UCONN in particular got short shift as 2 of it's 3 national championship teams were not the focus of that year's chapter, The 1999 UCONN upset Duke in a fantastic national championship game. Not only is that UCONN passed over for a Gonzaga team that didn't even make the Final Four but their upset over Duke isn't even in the 100 greatest games section. And the 2011 team that went from a bubble team to getting a 3 seed by winning the Big East with 5 wins in 5 days to being National Champions. VCU made a great run to the Final Four that year and I get that but Kemba and UCCONN deserved their props. The 1990 UNLV national championship team is passed over for a Loyola team that didn't even make the Final Four. I can see making George Mason and Butler the focuses in 2006 and 2010 more so than those other caes but I still would have much preferred the focus be on the National Champion every year. The games section is fantastic and gives fair weight to both older and newer games without being biased towards either. It was really fun to relive some of the games I saw live and to learn about some of the older games as well. Well researched,well written,and well organized. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about the history of the NCAA Tournament. Also great for reliving some great action. 4 and 1/2 out of 5 stars.
This book has been fun and interesting to read. It starts with the first tournament and goes through the most recent. Reading about the events and the characters that have shaped the tournament over the years has been enjoyable. March Madness is my favorite sporting event of the year and had a great time learning more about it.
This book brings together all the great moments of march madness with a writing style the is fun to read. I loved all the interviews, they added a new dimension to the storiy. Hager has a slam dunk with this book!
The book is extensive and entertaining, but the team picture on page 41, supposedly of the 1956 USF Dons, is really of the 1955 Dons. The player holding the trophy is mistakenly identified as Carl Boldt; it's Jerry Mullen, a senior starter on the 1955 team. In the article on the 1956 team, Tom Hager doesn't mention that Coach Phil Woolpert knew before the season started that K.C. Jones would be ineligible for the NCAA Tournament. He portrays his ineligibility as "a disaster" occurring right before the NCAA Tournament. It's also a grave omission on his part not to mention the "Big Stall" that Cal coach Pete Newell used against his former team the night the Dons set a new record for consecutive wins.Lastly, while there were new rules for the 1955-56 season in an attempt to limit Bill Russell's effectiveness, the 3-second rule was not one of them.While not an original rule of the game, the 3-second rule had been part of the game for many years before Bill Russell played for USF.
This is a terrific book full of history and great interviews, highly recommended to any fans of college basketball. It is a fan's, and not a journalist's perspective, however, and the NCAA Tournament tends to be a bit romanticized throughout (especially compared to the NIT tournament, which was equally, if not more prestigious in the tournament's early years).
This was a great buy! I only knew a little from watching the games with my family every year, but this was an amazing read! It gets to the games that have made this tournament such a great American tradition, and makes you remember why March is the best month!
This is a very in-depth, well written book about March Madness. The author clearly put a lot of time into this book. The book has two parts:
Part 1 is a year-by-year history of the NCAA tournament. As someone who only recently begun following the NCAA Tournament, this book was very informative. Part 2 is the 100 greatest games in tournament history. I thoroughly enjoyed reliving some of the most exciting games in the history of sports as well as reading about earlier games I wasn't fortunate enough to watch.
I strongly recommend this book for anyone who likes college basketball or wants to learn more about the NCAA Tournament.