Feinstein pulls back the curtain on college basketball's lesser-known Cinderella stories--the smaller programs who no one expects to win, who have no chance of attracting the most coveted high school recruits, who rarely send their players on to the NBA.
There is no better guide to this world than Mr. Feinstein ... Mr. Feinstein’s gaze rarely crosses the Appalachians, which will no doubt distress fans of West Coast schools ... For all its appeal, The Back Roads to March misfires here and there. Sports reporting, admittedly, is a genre prone to cliché, but Mr. Feinstein is far too good a writer to describe a UMBC player having a great game as 'unconscious'...More distracting are those moments when Mr. Feinstein makes himself the story ... Additionally, Mr. Feinstein largely avoids criticism of any kind, save for repeated (and merited) swipes at the hypocrisy of the NCAA. Given the national conversation about the astronomical cost of a college education, one might expect Mr. Feinstein to offer even brief commentary on the vast sums spent by colleges and universities on Division I basketball, where—as of 2017—hoops coaches were the highest paid public employees in eight U.S. states ... Even for a relentlessly uplifting book like this one, surely there is room for a little more clear-eyed skepticism ... On the other hand, love letters rarely traffic in doubt or other unpleasantries, and The Back Roads to March is nothing if not a long, meandering, heartfelt missive to college basketball.
... there is much more to college basketball than the premier teams, and Feinstein presents the universe of smaller schools with players who have no illusions of a professional career, coached by men who love the game ... A wonderful book by a wonderful sports journalist.
... fascinating ... [Feinstein] describes his travels in vivid detail, showing readers the smaller arenas and atmospheres where the schools play ... Most memorable, though, is Feinstein’s eye and ear for the little-known coaches who aren’t fending off NBA offers ... It’s all net for Feinstein’s passionate basketball history.