❮Reading❯ ➶ When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball ➮ Author Seth Davis – Peakpopa.info

When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball Really interesting read It s rare to find a sports book that deals with such a familiar topic and yet provides so much new information Or at least new for me. The 1979 NCAA Basketball Championship was arguably the most important event in college basketball history Its success spurred the growth of ESPN and excited sports fans all over the country 1 4 of the nation s televisions were tuned to the final game But than anything, this is a story of two men who captured the nation with their incredible play and became the new face of basketball Before they were millionaires in the NBA, Magic and Bird were college rivals, with completely different personalities and backgrounds Larry Bird took time from college and worked as a garbage man, before his coach convinced him to return to campus Bird was shy of the media, whereas Magic embraced the spotlight and never grew tired of entertaining Seth Davis is not a great writer, but he s done his research tons of interviews with players, coaches, and broadcasters It s too bad that the Indiana State Sycas can no longer compete with the big dogs in March Madness. This book succeeds and fails at the same time First, Davis does an exceptional job of recreating the 1979 NCAA Championship game and the build up to that game The reader really gets a feel for the players and coaches of the two seemingly unlikely teams the Michigan State University Spartans and the Indiana State University Sycas Further, he does an excellent job of highlighting the superstars from that season and that game Larry Bird and Earvin Magic Johnson As someone whose familiarity with Bird and Magic was limited to an emerging interest in the NBA as a child in the 80s, I found the historical aspect of the 79 tournament fascinating I had no idea that the two had met prior to the Lakers Celtics rivalry of that time Since I was a mere 6 at the time, I had no memory of who won and read with a great deal of interest This aspect of the book was quite good Where this book fails is that the title or subtitle states that this game and season transformed basketball This seems to be the thesis of the book However, Davis only occasionally supports this thesis with the events of that season After having finished the book, I left convinced that things were indeed different in 1979 but not so certain that this game or season was THE crucial turning point in basketball in America I think this would have been a much better book if Davis merely focused on the 1978 79 NCAA season instead of attempting to attach grandiose assertions about the importance of this season over any other in the development of basketball in America I would argue that if any season of NCAA basketball contributed to the rise in the popularity of basketball as a whole it was 1982, and specifically when a player from UNC named Michael Jordan made a game winning jump shot in the NCAA Championship I accept that Bird and Magic and the season covered in this book laid the ground work for Jordan and others but I am not convinced that their first meeting transformed basketball Still, I did find this book quite interesting and the author at his best when detailing the history of this season and introducing us to these young athletes on the cusp of superstardom. In When March Went Mad, Seth Davis offers a narrative account of the 1979 College Basketball season through the eyes of it s two greatest players, Larry Bird of the Indiana State Sycas, and Magic Johnson of the Michigan State Spartans, whose teams eventually met in the finals of the NCAA Tournament, with Michigan State winning 75 64 Davis argues that this is the greatest basketball game ever played, both for it s effect on televised college Basketball, and later on the NBA, since both Magic and Bird helped lay the foundation for the modern game, paving the way for the rock star players of the current era.The author does a nice job of weaving both team s season s into one continuous narrative It s obvious that he did a large amount of research for this book, interviewing many of the players, coaches, and broadcasters, involved As a result, you ll feel as if you are there, experiencing the emotional highs and lows with the players as the season progresses Unfortunately, this book has a major flaw, Michigan State wins the tournament halfway through, which is kind of a letdown considering that it s the centerpiece of the book Seth Davis is a better writer than you d expect, therefore I d recommend the book, despite the uneven nature of the two halves It s not good enough for a 4, but I enjoyed the first half way too much to give it a 3. One of the best basketball books out there A small Indiana school led by the Hick from French Lick goes up against a Big Ten powerhouse in the NCAA Finals Compulsively readable Or readably compulsive. I tell people that this game was the first game I ever watched on TV, and as far as I can remember, I m not lying I lived in Bloomington, Indiana when this game was played, and was a staunch Larry Bird fan and continue to root for the Celtics to this day The rivalry that this game birthed gave hoops fans a decade of basketball bliss.I didn t learn much about Bird or Magic from this book, but what little I learned was worth the read The bigger win was learning about Heathcote, Hodges, Nicks, Kelser the other people involved in that amazing season that led to this game I never realized, for example, that this was Hodges absolute basketball zenith, and that hoops never panned out for him after this Or that Indiana State has largely disowned that magical season.Hoops fans should all read this book Bird or Magic fans It s a must read. Since this 1978 79 season took place before the advent of extensive TV coverage of NCAA basketball, it was fun reading the backstory for the championship matchup everyone remembers The championship game itself was sort of anticlimactic Definitely worth a read for college BB fans. I enjoyed this book and definitely thought it was appropriate to read at this time of year Since I grew up in Terre Haute and was born right before the 78 79 season, so I had heard some of what was in the book, but still thought it was interesting. Enjoyable read Adds a lot of insight to the backgrounds of 2 of the greatest nba players of all time Ends with a where are they now of teammates and coaches. 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About the Author: Seth Davis

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