I loved your March20 cover featuring all 65 teams in the NCAA tournament--and those two coverchallenges you included this year were just perfect for those of us looking forsomething to keep us focused on March Madness during commercial breaks!
Jimmy Nall, Lexington, Ky.
I think you needto add something to your SPORTS ILLUSTRATED¬†Cover Challenge: Contest 3(very, very hard--in fact, impossible): Find more than two female NCAAbasketball players. Cheerleaders don't count!
Allie Cook, North Reading, Mass.
To Have and HaveNot
Grant Wahl'sPossession Obsession (March 20) made a good case for the value of efficiencyratings. Seven of the 10 power conference teams with the highest efficiencymargins made it to the Sweet 16. Twelve of 27 teams in the Good Offense--GoodDefense quadrant of The Efficiency Matrix advanced that far, while not one ofthe 13 in the Bad Offense--Bad Defense quadrant made it. Next year I'll be sureto check the efficiency ratings before filling out my brackets. Maybe that willsave me from taking grief from my wife, who spends much less time watchingcollege basketball than I do, yet successfully picked 13 of the Sweet 16 thisyear.
Steven Z. George, Gainesville, Fla.
I really likeusing possession efficiency to evaluate basketball teams. Basketball rulesprovide each team with an equal number of possessions in any game--with oneexception: Offensive rebounds can upset a game's equilibrium. For those whosubscribe to the theory of possession efficiency, that stat is key.
Robert E. Rich, East Lansing, Mich.
Save TheEfficiency Matrix for roto geeks. I'm sticking with my tried and true method ofusing uniform colors, the number of vowels in mascot names and the ranking ofeach school's music department to fill out my brackets.
Fred Cunningham, Simpsonville, S.C.
With all duerespect to the estimable Dean Smith, dubbing him "the most successful coachin the history of Division I college basketball" is akin to placing MarvLevy or Bud Grant on a higher pedestal than Vince Lombardi. Longevity andtournament games won are admirable, but Smith won two national titles in 36years as a head coach; John Wooden won 10 in 27 at UCLA. As a mark of truegreatness, I'll take the Wizard of Westwood's numbers.
Kent Cowgill, Houston, Minn.
I grew up inSouthern California and became a Los Angeles Dodgers fan for life. But myoldest son, at the age of 10, became a Minnesota Twins fan for reasons Icouldn't begin to fathom and hung pictures of centerfielder Kirby Puckett inhis bedroom. After reading Steve Rushin's tribute to the greatest Twin of themall (Air and Space, March 20), I now understand why my son chose Puckett as hisfavorite player.
Ralph S. Brax, Lancaster, Calif.
If baseballcommissioner Bud Selig is looking for an official players' apologist, he canpencil in Philadelphia Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt(Scorecard, March 20). In a brief, five-question Q&A, Schmidt managed todefend all the players of his era against steroid accusations, stand by BarryBonds and back up Pete Rose. Schmidt says Rose is "in limbo." Rose,however, bet on baseball. He got tossed for it. That's far from being in limbo:The Rose ban represents one thing baseball got right.
Mark Gordon, Bradenton, Fla.
Schmidt'shead-in-the-sand approach is emblematic of baseball's biggest problem: As JackNicholson once said of the truth in the movie A Few Good Men, "You can'thandle the truth!"
Gary Bradt, Summerfield, N.C.
He Had Us at"Drew"
I'm surprised bynew Arizona Cardinals running back Edgerrin James's text message to hisinfamous agent, Drew Rosenhaus (INSIDE THE NFL, March 20): "You and I arelike Rod Tidwell and Jerry Maguire. Show me the money!" As a Cardinalsseason-ticket holder, I hope that James knows the Cardinals' playbook betterthan he knows movie trivia. Rosenhaus is no Maguire; he's widely reported to bedirector Cameron Crowe's inspiration for ethically challenged Bob Sugar--JerryMaguire's archnemesis.
Kent J. Divich, Las Vegas
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