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April 10, 2006
Scintillating 65
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April 10, 2006


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Scintillating 65

I loved your March 20 cover featuring all 65 teams in the NCAA tournament--and those two cover challenges you included this year were just perfect for those of us looking for something to keep us focused on March Madness during commercial breaks!
Jimmy Nall, Lexington, Ky.

I think you need to add something to your SPORTS ILLUSTRATED�Cover Challenge: Contest 3 (very, very hard--in fact, impossible): Find more than two female NCAA basketball players. Cheerleaders don't count!
Allie Cook, North Reading, Mass.

To Have and Have Not

Grant Wahl's Possession Obsession (March 20) made a good case for the value of efficiency ratings. Seven of the 10 power conference teams with the highest efficiency margins made it to the Sweet 16. Twelve of 27 teams in the Good Offense--Good Defense quadrant of The Efficiency Matrix advanced that far, while not one of the 13 in the Bad Offense--Bad Defense quadrant made it. Next year I'll be sure to check the efficiency ratings before filling out my brackets. Maybe that will save me from taking grief from my wife, who spends much less time watching college basketball than I do, yet successfully picked 13 of the Sweet 16 this year.
Steven Z. George, Gainesville, Fla.

I really like using possession efficiency to evaluate basketball teams. Basketball rules provide each team with an equal number of possessions in any game--with one exception: Offensive rebounds can upset a game's equilibrium. For those who subscribe to the theory of possession efficiency, that stat is key.
Robert E. Rich, East Lansing, Mich.

Save The Efficiency Matrix for roto geeks. I'm sticking with my tried and true method of using uniform colors, the number of vowels in mascot names and the ranking of each school's music department to fill out my brackets.
Fred Cunningham, Simpsonville, S.C.

With all due respect to the estimable Dean Smith, dubbing him "the most successful coach in the history of Division I college basketball" is akin to placing Marv Levy or Bud Grant on a higher pedestal than Vince Lombardi. Longevity and tournament games won are admirable, but Smith won two national titles in 36 years as a head coach; John Wooden won 10 in 27 at UCLA. As a mark of true greatness, I'll take the Wizard of Westwood's numbers.
Kent Cowgill, Houston, Minn.

Remembering Kirby

I grew up in Southern California and became a Los Angeles Dodgers fan for life. But my oldest son, at the age of 10, became a Minnesota Twins fan for reasons I couldn't begin to fathom and hung pictures of centerfielder Kirby Puckett in his bedroom. After reading Steve Rushin's tribute to the greatest Twin of them all (Air and Space, March 20), I now understand why my son chose Puckett as his favorite player.
Ralph S. Brax, Lancaster, Calif.

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