Jeff Pearlman

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Clayton Custer

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Clayton Custer is an instant legend.

In case you missed it, with the clock running down against Tennessee, and his team trailing by one, Loyola Chicago’s unheralded guard dribbled to the right of the paint, pulled up from adjacent to the foul line and hit a jumper over a Vols defender that hit the rim, bounced high in the air and then found net.

Loyola Chicago 63

Tennessee 62

The Sweet 16 awaits …

It might be weird to admit this, but I’m no longer a huge sports fan. I probably watch 10 innings of baseball per year. The NFL season has turned really dull. I think hockey might exist. But there’s something about March Madness, and particularly the first two rounds, that really gets me.

As I noted in my post yesterday about UMBC’s Jairus Lyles, I dig that we usually emerge with a handful of never-before-heard-of heroes who arrive from the mist to make our days. We sit here screaming at the screen, cheering for guys we couldn’t identify from a lineup of one. I don’t know Lyles, just as I don’t know Custer. Republican? Democrat? Allergic to bread? Big Spiderman fans? Gay? Straight? I have 0 way of obtaining that information—and it matters not.

This whole thing is a lovely escape from reality; one that—for me, at least—ends when the underdogs are inevitably knocked from the tournament, and we’re left with the Kentuckys and Dukes of the world. Until then, however, I’ll relish my moments alongside the fleeting stars of small college brilliance.

With Clayton Custer.

Showtime Book
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Sweetness Walter Peyton Book
The Bad Guys Won Book
The Rocket that Fell to Earth Book
Boys Will Be Boys Book

Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life