When Mark Mehler and Charles Paikert first met to watch their favorite college basketball teams duke it out, they had no idea it would become a tradition. But year after year the two continued to meet at the same local bar, often times cheering for opposing teams. Journalism was their trade, but college hoops was their passion.
Those worlds met when they co-authored the new book “Madness: The Ten Most Memorable NCAA Basketball Finals” (Sports Publishing/2018). The name may suggest that these were the best, most riveting games, but Mehler and Paikert were more interested in the stories that changed men’s basketball. They detail the 1963 championship that paired all-white Mississippi State against the integrated Loyola University Chicago team. Loyola won that game and shaped college basketball history.
Mehler joins Frank Stasio to talk about the love Jimmy Valvano had for his players, why Dean Smith is one of the best coaches in college basketball and some of the moments that helped shape March Madness.