Issue 9
November 5 - 11, 2000
Volume 1
page 3

Must-Read for Betting College Hoops:
Blue Ribbon's 20th Annual Edition

By Howard Schwartz

Like a faithful, brave St. Bernard trudging through a snowy Alps blizzard with a flask of brandy, the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook comes to the rescue of those dedicated college hoops bettors who must gather information on many of the 3l8 Division I teams that are bettable in 2000-2001. The annual, originally founded and compiled by Chris Wallace, who literally sold it out of the trunk of his West Virginia-based car in the l980s, is again, a wonder to behold at 384 pages, selling for $19.95.

Edited again by the most-talented Chris Dortch and his sharp national crew of scouts, analysts and compilers, this mountain of useful material, from Air Force to Youngstown State, has been compiled to isolate this year's "sleepers," powerhouses and late bloomers--all of whom are hoping to make it to the Big Dance in March.

You'll find no pointspreads or totals or references to "home dogs" or such in this book. It details players-who's bound to star; who's over-rated; who's NBA-bound; who the leaders are in shooting, assists; in being a "sparkplug off the bench," and how well teams recruited or hope to utilize junior college transfers. And it includes Ivy League teams; little-knowns like Coppin State, Drexel, Elon, Samford, Wofford and Wright State. Thirty-two conferences are covered, included the Colonial, Mid-American, Patriot League, Trans America and later, the Independents.

Notre Dame's Troy Murphy is projected as Player of the Year, with Kentucky's Jason Parker seen as Newcomer of the Year. The Blue Ribbon crew also offers it's 20th Anniversary All-Blue Ribbon Team and the Top 20 Events in the book's history. It includes a list of all Division I coaching changes for the upcoming season; picks its top 40 for the upcoming season (UNLV doesn't make the list); then covers the top 40 in deep analysis. Here you'll find who's back from last season; who's not; what the coach might be thinking and his philosophy toward winning is (new recruiting tactics; a different offense or more emphasis on defense; more run and gun or less, etc.).

In addition you'll be able to see a projected starting lineup; key reserves; other newcomers; and key questions about each team-how they'll fill in gaps; solve problems or what they hope to do differently this season compared to last

season. The Blue Ribbon crew analyzes and rates the backcourt, bench depth, front court and "intangibles" using a letter grade. (Duke is simply loaded and ranked number one, with virtually all "A" grades.) Schedules are there for all teams (of course they're always subject to change for TV purposes), with indications of tournaments and location, when known.

You'll see some minor omissions in this edition-junior colleges, high school players who may be future college superstars and women's basketball didn't make the cut (not enough room). The editors promise to include that material in the December update edition. One minor error-you'd have to be nutty nitpicker to care-but Niagara was listed as Niagra. But again, this has been the year of Viagra. The error is in the index only -the in-depth material on the team has the name spelled correctly throughout.

The book arrived at Gambler's Book Shop on a Tuesday. By Thursday, sports service operators, bettors, fans, talk show hosts and those who buy it for a gift, had picked them up five and six at a time-guarding them like fullbacks diving for the end zone on fourth and one with time running out. You'll need time to read this marvelous compilation-buy a highlighter and go at it. It's once again, the book of the year for basketball bettors.

The Blue Ribbon book is available at Gambler's Book Shop, 630 South 11th St., Las Vegas, NV 89101 for $19.95 plus $5.50 postage. You may order by calling 1-800-522-1777 from 9 to 5 Pacific Time, Mon.-Sat. using a MasterCard, VISA or Discover card only. You may send a check or money order to the store and the book will be shipped the next working day. You may order via the store's web site at anytime. You may also fax your order in to the store at 702-382-7594 anytime, and include your credit card number and expiration date. Ask for the store's free 80-page catalog of software, books and videos, sent first class.

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