Book: The Last Dance…Behind The Scenes At The Final Four
Author: John Feinstein (2006)
RATING: A Triple (1 thru 4: Single – Double – Triple – Home Run)
Like most fans, my experience of The Final Four is what I have witnessed on CBS during the final weekend of the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament. All the excitement is filtered through the commentary and play by play of the CBS announcers (and for the last few years, it’s been Jim Nance and Company) and that’s were it ends. Sure, you can turn on ESPN and hear Dick Vitale scream at you, or listen to any sports talk radio station and get their bracketology (is that even a word?), but other than finding out who is this year’s “diaper dandy, Cinderella team, PTPer” etc, you probably won’t know anything more that what you would have gotten from the sports section of USA Today.
As John Feinstein continues to demonstrate in his work, his ability to get behind the scenes, and access to “people in the know,” is second to none and in The Last Dance…Behind The Scenes At The Final Four, Feinstein delivers again.
John takes the reader inside the NCAA Selection Committee's thought process on what teams go and what teams stay home, (it's easier to get a passport than to be selected into the "Field of 64"), to the officials who work the Final Four games, and finally, to the lobby of the Final Four Hotel where coaches hold court, ex-coaches lobby for new jobs, and rumors fly.
Feinstein has built his career on honesty, integrity and hardwork, and its the readers who benefit from his work. While others might write based on speculation or second hand information, John gets in front of the story, and in front of the story teller providing you with fact and personal insight from those involved in the story. (Want to know why Dean Smith and Coach K didn't like each other...)