March Madness reading list: 10 best books about college basketball

Tired of reading brackets all day long? Try some of these classic books on college basketball.

Best basketball book ever written?

There must be more to life than bracketology. But once March Madness sets in, it's hard not to become a college basketball fanatic. For those who want to do so more intelligently (or who need good reading material for those timeouts), here's a list of 10 books guaranteed to both boost knowledge and increase spectator pleasure.

1. "A Season on the Brink" by John Feinstein. Feinstein, a noted sportswriter, follows a year in the life of coach Bobby Knight and his 1985-86 Indiana Hoosiers. Some call it the best book ever written about basketball.

2. "A March to Madness" by John Feinstein. This time Feinstein follows one year in the life of a conference: the Atlantic Coast Conference. "A March to Madness" follows the conference teams, their coaches, and their players, through the 1996-97 basketball season, culminating with the NCAA Final Four.

3. "Glory Road" by Don Haskins. In the 1966 NCAA championship game, Don Haskins, coach of what was then the Texas Western College team, changed the face of college basketball by starting five black players – and defeating the powerful University of Kentucky team. This is his story.

4. "They Call Me Coach" by John Wooden. The UCLA basketball coach for 27 years, John Wooden has sometimes been called America's "winningest" coach. This is his autobiography.

5. "When March Went Mad" by Seth Davis. The 1979 NCAA basketball championship game featured two future legends: Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Larry Bird. Davis writes about that game and the season that led the two stars-in-the-making to their matchup.

5. "The Game They Played" by Stanley Cohen. This one is a heartbreaker. It tells the story of the 1949-50 college basketball season in which New York's unranked City College team took NCAA and NIT titles – only to see 20 players later indicted for shaving points.

7. "How March Became Madness" by Eddie Einhorn. Einhorn was the broadcaster who first argued that college basketball belonged on TV. His book tells the story of how college hoops went prime-time.

8. "CBS Sports Presents: Stories from the Final Four" edited by Matt Fulks. A collection of journalists remember great moments from 21 Final Fours going back to the 1950s.

9. "Last Dance" by John Feinstein. This time Feinstein examines the Final Four from multiple points of view, including those of coaches, players, referees, and sportscasters.

10. "March to Madness: The Ultimate Fan's Trivia Book" by Allan Zulo. Impress your friends by spouting little-known facts from this compendium billed as "the ultimate guide" to college basketball minutiae.

Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.

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