I don't reallylike all the shocking upsets, last-second shots and unmatched excitement of theNCAA basketball tournament. College hoops should follow the lead of the BCS:Input some numbers only an astrophysicist could understand and let thecomputers decide that Texas should play Ohio State!
Brian Jardine, Dunmore, Pa.
Hooray for GrantWahl for calling out Billy Packer and Jim Nantz on the way they dismissedmidmajor schools such as George Mason, Wichita State and Bradley as unfit to bein the NCAA tournament (Once Upon a Time, March 27). Those guys are nothingmore than shills for the big conferences.
Bob Youngerman, Brevard, N.C.
Whatever respect Ionce had for Packer is now gone. He's so embedded in the camps of the ACC andthe Big East that I think if someone asked him to name a state west ofVirginia, his answer would be "West Virginia."
Nick Burroughs, Wichita, Kans.
I can't speak forall the schools, but part of the definition of a midmajor at my alma mater,Bucknell, is the proper balancing of athletics and education. The Bison have a100% graduation rate for all entering basketball players, a figure that, sadly,far exceeds that of virtually all other participating schools in this year'stourney.
Craig Holland, Stony Brook, N.Y.
I came home fromIraq during last year's March Madness, but it wasn't until I read SteveRushin's column on watching the first day of the NCAA tournament at an Irishpub in Hartford (Air and Space, March 27) that I finally realized how lucky Iam and what a truly great country we live in. Steve, I hope to see you atVaughan's next year.
Stephen McLellan, Houston
Rushin's columnbrought back memories of all the years my buddies and I would extend our lunchhour into the night at our favorite watering hole to watch the first round ofthe NCAA tournament. This year, however, proved a little different when my wifewoke me to say that we needed to get to the hospital to have our first child. Iwatched the tournament in our delivery room as doctors and nurses came by anddiscussed their brackets. At 9:50 p.m., our little girl, Cameron Bond Nobis,was born, and basketball became an afterthought. I will always remember the daymy daughter was born and my luck at getting to watch the rest of the tournamenton paternity leave.
Ben Nobis, Plainwell, Mich.
In Praise ofPrint
Thank you, ChrisBallard. Writing Up a Storm (March 27) demonstrates why I read SPORTSILLUSTRATED. Because I'm 22, I'm supposed to be obsessed with fantasy sportsand blogging, but I'd rather spend an afternoon reading coherent, in-depthwriting about subjects that are actually interesting. It's stories like WritingUp a Storm that will keep my subscription renewed.
Aaron Taylor, Beltsville, Md.
Your item onpossible point-shaving implicated players only (Scorecard, March 27), but as wehave seen with German soccer, officials also can throw games. In basketballmany foul calls are discretionary. What an easy way for a crooked referee tocover his tracks.
Henry Holt III, Winston-Salem, N.C.
I commend SI forraising concerns about point-shaving in college basketball and describing NCAAefforts to prevent it. We at the NCAA look at the statistical methods youdescribed as a supplement to the extensive survey data on wagering collectedfrom our student-athletes. We hope future research will better isolate thereasons that large favorites cover less often than expected. While the personyou interviewed would like to attribute the finding completely to corruption,scholars in the field have strong evidence that the heavy-favorites effect ispervasive in gambling and is more a reflection of how novice gamblers bet theirmoney in these types of situations.
Thomas S. Paskus, Indianapolis
Principal Research Scientist, NCAA
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BILL FRAKES (FLORIDA)
GREG NELSON (GEORGE MASON)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (GONZAGA)
JOHN BIEVER (BRADLEY)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (BOSTON COLLEGE)
BOB ROSATO (WICHITA STATE)