Hugh Sidey's America: Floor of Dreams

Hucksters for the N.C.A.A. play-offs talk of March Madness. Actually, it's a deeply American love affair.

The thunder you hear on these March nights is the better part of 10 million basketballs being dribbled, slapped, dunked, palmed and bounced in every oversteamed gym and field house and on every chilled and ragged patch of asphalt and on every mud-caked farmyard where a kid can pivot and hook and dream.

The spectacle you see now, and for 60 hours on television, until the New Orleans finals on April 5, has been dubbed "March Madness" by the network hucksters, and it is the grandest play-off of any -- 112 college teams (64 men's, 48 women's) joyfully colliding, with their...

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