The Big Dance: The Story of the NCAA Basketball Tournament

The Big Dance: The Story of the NCAA Basketball Tournament - Barry Wilner, Ken Rappoport I'm going to preface this review with a forewarning - "The Big Dance" isn't so much a comprehensive history of the NCAA Basketball tournament as it is a collection of defining sports moments in the history of the NCAA, presented in an intricate viewpoint of quotes and reports, like someone just taking a snippet of an article about a given set of games. If you're looking for a book that tells the inside story of the structure, founding, and history of the league in itself and the major players in front of and behind the scenes, this is not the book to pick up, and I'll admit that from the blurb the book gives, my expectations for this book were not met.What "The Big Dance" does entail is a series of stories, ranging from teams such as UCLA, Carolina, Duke, among other teams throughout the years, and the stories of the players contributing to those defining games. But I'll admit that as a fan of the games and March Madness especially, I was very underwhelmed by the presentation in this book. For one, it's quite randomized, a grab bag of sorts without easy transition. Each of the chapters jump from one event to the next with little cohesion, and probably could've benefited from further structuring from event to event. I probably would've even liked if there were headings that organized the events in decades rather than the general titles they were given, because it was difficult to tell what the subject matter would be about. It wasn't the kind of compilation I would turn to learn about the history of the game and the organization as a whole, and it seemed to lack the narrative passion and intrigue that could've made these stories more intimate and filled with just as much excitement as the games.I think the only reason I give this two stars is because it's more of a benefit of the doubt ranking - this probably would've made for a better special edition magazine compilation, combined with photos and interviews of those involved with the games, but since this is a book and it doesn't seem to have the directive to carry it, it wouldn't be something I'd recommend to sports fans who are looking for a detailed non-fiction account of the NCAA.Overall score: 2/5Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Taylor Trade Publishing.