Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Seth Davis' "When March Went Mad" is a great read for any sports fan

If you're craving more college basketball with the season coming to a close with a great Duke-Butler game last night, you might want to grab a copy of Seth Davis' "When March Went Mad." Davis, who you undoubtedly saw working as a studio analyst for this year's NCAA Tournament, tells a wonderful story of a time when college basketball was nothing like it is today.

In 1979, the title game truly was a David v. Goliath battle. The Michigan State Spartans were lead by Magic Johnson, a charismatic collegiate star, while the Indiana State Sycamores were lead by Larry Bird, at the time a shy kid who didn't want anything to do with the media. In almost every way, Bird and Magic - and their respective teams - were complete opposites.

While detailing each team's season seems a little dry, Davis brings it to life with great stories, quotes and details. Once you pick this book up, it will be hard to put it down as you relive Indiana State's run from unheard of squad to national finalists and Michigan State's up-and-down marathon to the title game.

It was a totally different time back then, with nowhere near the coverage we have today, making the story even more intriguing. This was more than a small-school v. big-school matchup, it was the dawning of the basketball boom and would eventually reinvigorate the NBA. Davis gives us a "before they were stars" look at two of the sport's biggest names and the rivalry that started it all.

Davis perfectly tells the story of one of the most important contests in the history of sports, hyperbole-free and with a seemingly effortless style. Whether you're a hoops fan, general sports enthusiast or media historian, "When March Went Mad" is an excellent read.

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