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A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad March
Phil Taylor
March 19, 2007
Slowly but steadily, the NCAA tournament became the spectacle we know today
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March 19, 2007

A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad March

Slowly but steadily, the NCAA tournament became the spectacle we know today

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SIGNATURE TV DEAL: CBS pays $6 billion in 2003 to cover TV, radio and--in a sign of the times--Web rights for 11 years

The Buzz: The tournament goes to a "pod" system in 2002, allowing the top four seeds in each region to play their first two games as close to home as possible. Not that the general public notices--everyone from gamblers to grandmothers is too busy filling out his or her brackets as part of the booming office-pool phenomenon, which adds a new level of obsessive interest to the tournament. On the court, freshman forward Carmelo Anthony (right) leads Syracuse to the '03 title in his only college season, and North Carolina wins the '05 championship with four underclassmen who then bolt early for the NBA. Given the new NBA rule instituted for the '06--07 season barring players from entering the draft until a year after their high school class graduates, it won't be surprising to see more Melo-like one-and-done championship runs.

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