Our cover incorporating images of all 65 invitees to the NCAA
tournament required some prognostication on the part of our
college basketball staff, which is headed up by senior editor
Dick Friedman. Most of the pieces of our cover collage needed to
be assembled well before the NCAA announced its official brackets
on Sunday night, so Friedman convened his own selection committee
a week beforehand. At the close of the regular season he and the
rest of the basketball staff had determined 50 likely invitees
and funneled their names to art director Ed Truscio, who began
assembling the cover image. As conference tournaments progressed,
Friedman added a few schools to the list each day. (Colorado
State was the last addition.) "We wanted the cover to capture the
madness," Friedman says, "and it's been madness here all week."
Don Van Natta Jr.
In his new book, First off the Tee: Presidential Hackers,
Duffers, and Cheaters from Taft to Bush, Don Van Natta Jr.
chronicles the often dubious golf habits of our White House
occupants. But the only president Van Natta actually played a
round with is Bill Clinton, and in this issue we excerpt his
account of that unique trip around the Golf Club of Purchase
(N.Y.) in 2002. Van Natta, then a New York Times correspondent
and now an investigative reporter for the paper, was surprised
that Clinton accepted his invitation, because Van Natta had been
told that Clinton hated an earlier story he had written on the
president's rule-bending ways (in golf). Van Natta gives Clinton
high ratings as a playing partner: The ex-prez was a joy to play
with, even as he shamelessly took the extra swings that Van Natta
came to term Billigans. "I don't think Bill Clinton really
realizes he bends the rules," Van Natta says. "He's had so many
years of presidential privileges, I don't even think he notices
Brutal hockey injuries are nothing new to senior writer E.M.
Swift. Five years ago he and former Boston University player
Travis Roy cowrote the book Eleven Seconds: A Story of Tragedy,
Courage, & Triumph, about the cracked vertebrae Roy sustained in
his first varsity game, which left him a paraplegic. Three years
later Swift wrote for SI about the hideous eye injury of
Toronto's Bryan Berard. This week he tells the story of another
fallen player, Merrimack goaltender Joe Exter, who has wavered
between critical and serious condition since colliding with a
Boston College player.
COLOR PHOTO DOUBLE TEAM Friedman (left) and Truscio took their best shots.
COLOR PHOTO: PETE CROSS (VAN NATTA JR.)