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The Big Dance: The Story of the NCAA…
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The Big Dance: The Story of the NCAA Basketball Tournament

by Barry Wilner

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1813799,566 (2.31)5

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Loved the stories of the NCAA. It was not what I expected, but enjoyable nontheless. ( )
  larestout | Jul 5, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
"March Madness". I have heard the phrase over the years, and associated it with either a clothing store sale or some other local sales event. To my surprise, after reading "The Big Dance" I know not that it is all about basketball and the NCAA Tournament. From page one to the end, I was fascinated with the history and selection practice of this springtime sports ritual.

Beginning in 1939 with the University of Oregon winning the first companionship an 8 team field, and the tourney actually losing money $2,531) to the billions made now, "The Big Dance" covers it all effortlessly and comprehensively.The authors, Bary Wilner and Ken Rappoport, did an excellent job of putting to paper many facts, stories, quotes and true life experiences on and off the court.

Ten of the NCAA playoffs greatest performances are included, along with stories about tourney blunders, classic confrontations, McGuire's miracles, and ten additional chapters.It is too difficult to pick the best reading from each chapter, for each chapter gave new insight, information and entertainment. Putting the book down was not an option, at times, as the information was presented in such a way that it was interesting to see what was in the next chapter.

I heartily recommend this book on basketball for all who live and love the game, but also for those such as me who knew nothing about "March Madness:"and the impact of basketball to television. Great reading, great gift idea. ( )
  bakersfieldbarbara | May 11, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Part of my disappointment with this book is a misreading of the subtitle: I thought it was a history of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, a chronicle of how the tournament grew from eight teams playing in untelevised obscurity to a regional event with 16 and then 32 teams, to the all-encompassing national extravanganza with 68 teams and every game televised and everyone and their dog filling out a bracket.

I still want to read that book, but that's not what The Big Dance is. What it is is a series of vignettes about particular teams, or particular players, or particular coaches who have been notable in the NCAA Tournament through the years. There is no organizing principle as far as I can tell; it is not arranged chronologically or alphabetically or in any other particular way. The stand-alone nature of the vignettes means there is a fair amount of repetition among them; UCLA and John Wooden get more than their fair share of space even considering their accomplishments. The vignettes themselves are fine, if a bit thin. They read like newspaper accounts in a lot of ways, and that's not surprising when you realize that the two authors are both reporters for the Associated Press wire service.

This would be a good book to give a young or new fan who is just starting to get excited about college basketball. Although it is not written specifically for a YA audience, the level of writing is perfectly suitable to that age group. There is no profanity and no off-color innuendo here. Anyone who considers themselves at all knowledgeable about NCAA hoops probably won't find much new here, except perhaps in specific vignettes. Generally speaking, what you get is a surface introduction to the various teams, players, and eras, which might inspire you to look for more in-depth information elsewhere.

As for me, I'm still looking for a great history of the NCAA basketball tournament. I know there must be one out there somewhere ... ( )
  rosalita | Apr 28, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
To me this book felt like a conversation between two know-it-all college guys. For the most part it seems to be a contest of who could come up with the best story from the NCAA basketball tournament over the years since it was first started rather than a detailed history of the tournament. Certain events are retold, certain players are brought up time and again, even when irrelevant to the point or the story, as if he was the favorite player of the person telling the story. It is not chronological, geographical, told in sections based on teams, schools, or coaches, or even ranked from best to worst or most shocking moment in the tournament. The whole book is just a random compilation of facts, stories, and buzzer-beaters. For someone very interested in reliving the tournament, not in learning about it, this is a great book. For everyone else, you'd have to be very committed to make it all the way through. ( )
  Gwnfkt12 | Mar 28, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
"This is March. It's our favorite month." ~ Kellie Jolly, Tennessee Volunteers

Every March, the college basketball season wraps up with the NCAA tournament - also known as March Madness. This year 68 men's teams and 64 women's teams were chosen to play for the right to be national champions. Millions of people filled out brackets and predicted which teams would advance to the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, and the Final Four. These same fans watched the opening games of the tournament, cringing as two No. 2 seeds - the Missouri Tigers and the Duke Blue Devils - lost in the opening round of the tournament to No. 15 seeds Norfolk and Lehigh, who held onto their dreams of becoming the tournament's Cinderella stories.

Stories - for me, that's what makes the NCAA tournament special. While some might argue that the tournament is made up of games, carefully seeded match-ups, I follow the NCAA tournament for the stories. The powerhouse teams that advance through the bracket on the shoulders of giants. The Cinderella stories who have the support of everyone who loves an underdog. The players themselves - athletes who each come to the court with a history, a set of supporters, a set of challenges, and a dream. It is these stories that Barry Wilner and Ken Rappoport tell in their book, The Big Dance: The Story of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. The book does not flow in a continuous narrative, but rather is made up of chapters that highlight legendary stories of the tournament. The authors also weave in a number of interesting facts about the tournament that will make you the hit of your Final Four parties.

If you are looking for something to do to pass the time between rounds of the tournament, I recommend dipping into The Big Dance. ( )
  porch_reader | Mar 25, 2012 |
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This is the story of the tournament, from its beginnings seventy-three years ago as an eight-team "bracket" to today's sixty-eight-team format.

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