Tim Layden did a great job explaining why the 2010 tournament was "as good as it gets," with powerhouses Kansas, Syracuse and Kentucky going down before the Final Four and four teams seeded ninth or higher making the Sweet 16. Upsets are the reason for following this tournament. The moral is that not all great teams are destined for greatness.

Benton McDonald, Austin

March Madness has been divine, but it's also been bittersweet because the field is likely to expand to 96 teams next year (As Good As It Gets, March 29). No more Cinderella stories like Cornell, Ohio or Murray State; the special magic of the first round will be destroyed. The website boycott96.com was created for fans to try to convince the TV networks that more games won't mean more revenue because fans will be watching less. It's a long shot, but no more so than Butler's making the Final Four.

Bob Merold, Florham Park, N.J.

There are a couple of million reasons why the NCAA should not change its current championship format. Unfortunately, there are a couple of billion reasons to expand it. Doing that would be another sad reminder: In our culture dollars trump perfection.

Mark Miller, Bluffton, Ind.

Renaissance Man

What a breath of fresh air to have Lakers star Pau Gasol offered as a role model to our young athletes—and their parents—primarily because he has so many interests (The Power of Pau, March 29). A role model for Gasol might be former garment-industry mogul Robert Lopatin, who graduated from medical school at age 55.

Margaret Lobenstine Belchertown, Mass.

Lee Jenkins's story on Gasol reminded me why I have been a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED subscriber for more than 30 years. In an era of 30-second highlight packages and Internet blogs and blather, I love that I can still sit down and enjoy an enlightening profile on a worthy professional athlete.

Mike Lund, Portland

Blue Line Special

After watching Drew Doughty play three whirlwind seasons of junior hockey in Guelph, Ont., it's been exciting to follow his quick rise in the NHL over the last two seasons (King of the Whirl, March 29). Michael Farber captured Doughty's cool and confidence, but his all-around game (including well-timed seismic hip checks) should also be noted. His size, shape and play remind me of Islanders Hall of Fame defenseman Denis Potvin—though he's clearly going to be the one and only Drew Doughty.

David Jensen, Georgetown, Ont.

Golden Age Memories

Frank Deford's Sometimes the Bear Eats You (March 29) is the best piece of writing I have read in years. With the exhilaration and spontaneity of a gifted storyteller, Deford punctuates his broad historical perspective with delightful recollections of the greats of sports. I didn't want his symphony of words to end.

Jim Daughdrill, Memphis

Thanks for the fun read down memory lane. I live in one of those "respectable parishes," where a street is named for revered sportswriting figure Royal Brougham. He was an editor-columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer who included a daily "pome," as he called it. One I'll never forget was inspired by the Oklahoma football team during Bud Wilkinson's heyday. It went like this: "When Pittsburgh is a pennant winner/Canlis serves a four bit dinner/Elvis dates a cross-eyed dame/Then Oklahoma will lose a game."

Dick Ronish, Seattle

As a sophomore in high school and an aspiring sportswriter, I greatly appreciated Deford's article about his career. If I have stories that are half as amazing as his someday, I will have fulfilled my dreams. I just hope that by the time I graduate from college, sportswriting hasn't completely disappeared.

Andrew Hutchinson Springdale, Ark.

I was a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED charter subscriber as a teenager in 1954, and I have seen the evolution of sports reporting and writing over the years. Despite the sports-information explosion created by the Internet, SI continues to be my main source of news because of its outstanding writing. Frank Deford's article was one of the best that I've read in your magazine.

Fredrick Matos, Annapolis, Md.

As Andre Laguerre told Deford when he was finding his sea legs at the magazine in the early 1960s, "It doesn't matter what you write about. All that matters is how well you write." That SI managing editor's advice will stay with this young sportswriter for the rest of his life.

Jeremy Waltner, Freeman, S.D.

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PHOTOGREG NELSON (COVER) TWO PHOTOS

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