Sunday, March 24, 2019

Tobacco Road: Duke, Carolina, N.C. State, Wake Forest and the History of the Most Intense Backyard Rivalries in Sports by Alywn Featherston

The name might be a mouthful but the book itself is a great look into college basketball. These are serious powerhouse teams and the breeding ground for the elite. I’m actually just going to give you the back cover as my summary because after reading that, you will realize it is a must-have for any basketball fan.

Back Cover: “As the 2005 NCAA basketball season entered conference tournament play, three of the nation’s top five rated teams were from the famed basketball hotbed in North Carolina known as “Tobacco Road.” Between 1981 and 2005, teams from the four basketball powerhouses – Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Wake Forest – reached the Final Four nineteen times and won seven national championships. Not since the Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants all played in New York City have rivalries so passionate been contained within such a small geographical region. These four college programs grew up within just thirty-four miles of each other (though Wake eventually moved across the state to Winston-Salem) and have staged classic battles throughout the decades, featuring stars like David Thompson, Michael Jordan, Johnny Dawkins, and Tim Duncan, and legendary coaches such as Dean Smith, Jim Valvano, Mike Kryzewski, and Roy Williams, Tobacco Road covers the rich traditions of Tobacco Road basketball – and the backyard rivalries that become more and more intense with every year.”

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And The Walls Came Tumbling Down: The Basketball Game That Changed American Sports by Frank Fitzpatrick

A.k.a  Another verision of Glory Road, the book that has now been made into a movie. But I will be honest here and tell you that I had no idea it was the same story when I picked the book out. It was only as I was typing the description that I said, hmm, this sounds familiar! Because I reviewed Glory Road in the basketball movie section, I thought here I would change it up and refer you to this different POV on the event, because Glory Road is actually from Coach Don Haskins perspective. This one, is not. It’s 1966. Texas Western has 5 black players as their starting line-up, something unheard of at that time. They went on to beat Kentucky in the NCAA Championship and their players totally dominated the white boys of Kentucky. This game wound up becoming a history altering event. I would LOVE if someone could read them both and then tell me which one you like best because after reading The Pistol I really want to re-read the Harry Potter books.

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How March Became Madness: How the NCAA Tournament Became the Greatest Sporting Event in America by Eddie Einhorn and Ron Rapoport

Wow! That’s a bold title! I mean, I’m not going to dispute since I, Admitted March Madness Addict since the early 90s, 100% agree. This book shows how NCAA basketball went from a bunch of coaches and college kids playing ball to the crazed, billion dollar phenomenon that it is today. How the first televised regular season game between UCLA and Houston in 1968 paved the way for march madness. It is also a a great story compiled from interviews from the greatest coaches and players.

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A Season on the Brink by John Feinstein

This was Feinstein’s breakout book. Since then he has gone on to acheive greatness in his career as an acclaimed sports novelist. It is the best selling sports book of all time because of the winning combo of Feinstein’s writing and his “main character” Indiana Hoosier’s head coach Bobby Knight. Feinstein was able to follow the infamous Knight during the 1985-65 season and helped shed light the heart of Knight who was always known for his volatile temper and love of throwing chairs during game.

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Leading with the Heart: Coach K’s Strategies for Basketball, Business and Life by Mike Krzyzewski and Donald T. Phillips

Go ahead, try to say his name. Not many can, hence the Coach K. There are many books about the beloved Duke Basketball coach but I’m picking this one because it is his words, even though it’s not necessarily his biography. There are his rules of life and how to apply them to you every day life whether you are a coach, a businessman or just a basketball fan looking to better himself. Duke fan or not, there are few people who don’t love and respect Coach K.

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About the author: Jennifer Taglione is the owner of this fabulous website Stiletto Sports. Despite writing well over 500 posts, she still maintains that she is not a sports writer! She is however a huge fan of Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Mark Sanchez, the Celtics, and totally kicks butt on March Madness brackets! Connect with her by following her on Twitter @StilettoSportsJ and subscribing to her weekly newsletter. For more info check out the About the Editor page!

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