03 March 2013

Book Review: "A March to Madness" by John Feinstein

This is a review of A March to Madness: A View from the Floor in the Atlantic Coast Conference by John Feinstein. It is one of the best college basketball books that I have ever read.

This is a book in which John Feinstein followed around the ACC teams for a season and talks about what happened, what they did, how they did it, etc.

It was a very interesting book that I really recommend reading, especially in conjunction with The Last Amateurs: Playing for Glory and Honor in Division I College Basketball, another book by Feinstein.. The differences and similarities really showcase the difference between low-major college basketball and perhaps the most powerful conference in the NCAA.

One obvious difference and part that I loved was seeing the differences in the conference tournaments. In the Patriot League Tournament he detailed, it was do-or-die every game, because there were no at-large bids. In the ACC Tournament, there were probably 2 teams that were really playing in games that they saw as "must-win." Quite a difference, obviously.

Another difference was a lot of the players themselves. In The Last Amateurs, the academic lives of the players were frequently discussed. In this book, there were far less references to any type of academics, and more to attitude problems of a lot of the players. Not say that Feinstein cast them into a bad light, because he didn't, but the differences between big-time and small-time college basketball were evident.

Overall, one of the most interesting books I've read, and definitely one of the best college basketball books I've read. If you get a chance, I definitely recommend you take a gander at it.