The Road to Madness

How the 1973-1974 Season Transformed College Basketball

By J. Samuel Walker, Randy Roberts

184 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 14 halftones, notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6884-0
    Published: November 2021
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-3024-3
    Published: September 2016

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The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is one of the iconic events in American sports. In this fast-paced, in-depth account, J. Samuel Walker and Randy Roberts identify the 1973–74 season as pivotal in the making of this now legendary postseason tournament. In an era when only one team per conference could compete, the dramatic defeat of coach John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins by the North Carolina State Wolfpack ended a decade of the Bruins’ dominance, fueled unprecedented national attention, and prompted the NCAA to expand the tournament field to a wider range of teams. Walker and Roberts provide a richly detailed chronicle of the games that made the season so memorable and uncover the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that set the stage for the celebrated spectacle that now fixes the nation’s attention every March.

About the Authors

J. Samuel Walker is a prize-winning historian and author of books on the history of American foreign policy, nuclear energy, and college basketball. His most recent book is ACC Basketball: The Story of the Rivalries, Traditions, and Scandals of the First Two Decades of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
For more information about J. Samuel Walker, visit the Author Page.

Randy Roberts is distinguished professor of history at Purdue University and an award-winning author. He has written thirteen books on sports history, the most recent of which is Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X (with Johnny Smith).
For more information about Randy Roberts, visit the Author Page.


“Offer[s] an intimate glimpse at the inner workings of the NCAA.”--News and Observer

“Belongs in libraries everywhere. . . . Meets both the needs of fans as well as scholars. . . . A good lively read.”--ARETE

“A masterfully written contribution to the growing canon of sports historiography and deserves a considerable audience.”--Journal of Southern History

“Successfully recounts the dramatic 1973-1974 college basketball season and shows how it inspired monumental changes in the NCAA tournament.”--Kansas History

“This is the most comprehensive book on one of the most game-changing seasons in college basketball history. Not only is the 1973–74 season pivotal to understanding the tournament we watch every March, it is also an essential chapter in the long and enduring legacy of basketball in North Carolina.”--Jay Bilas, ESPN

"J. Samuel Walker and Randy Roberts's The Road to Madness is one of the best basketball books ever written. It's both extremely well researched and elegantly written. I highly recommend it!"--Douglas Brinkley, Rice University