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5 Great Hoopster Movies for March Madness

Josh Lucas takes on the role of Coach Don Haskins who was among the first to recruit African Americans to his college basketball team in 1966.


Photo ┬ęBuena Vista Home Entertainment/Touchstone

The sound of sneakers squeaking on the hardwood is about to take over the airwaves. It’s March Madness for Men’s and Women’s college basketball teams in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association).

“March Madness can be 21 days of nail-biting action for fans of the game”

Sixty-eight teams will vie for the top honors at the tournament. Those invited to participate will be announced on Selection Sunday, March 16. The competition runs for three weeks. For fans it can be 21 days of nail-biting action as they cheer on their favorite team.

But basketball makes for equally good entertainment in the movies—especially if your favorite team doesn’t make the Final Four. Here are five great basketball movies to get you in the spirit of March Madness.

GLORY ROAD - In 1966 Don Haskins makes a gutsy move. As basketball coach at Texas Western (now University of Texas at El Paso), he has little recruitment money and a dismal winning record. Unable to lure the top prospects to join his team, Haskins goes on a road trip through African American neighborhoods to scout out potential players. However the talented hoopsters he signs face all kinds of racial prejudice on and off the court as they pioneer a new era of the game.

HOOSIERS- Like most coaches, Norman Dale has a reputation that precedes him. Unfortunately in his case, it’s not a good one. This former collegiate coach was dismissed from his position for hitting a student. Now the only job he can get is heading up the high school basketball program in the tiny town of Hickory, Indiana where he immediately butts heads with parents and community members. However, under Norman’s rigorous leadership, the boys set their sites on a state championship and—for some—a chance to earn a collegiate scholarship.

THE ABSENT-MINDED PROFESSOR - What team couldn’t use a little extra help, especially when their opponents significantly outsize them? To make matters worse, their school, Medville College, is about to go on the chopping block unless it can come up with some substantial cash. Thankfully Professor Ned Brainard has invented a substance called Flubber that has the Medville basketball team jumping head and shoulders above their competitors.

COACH CARTER - Parents in inner-city schools know that sports are one way their kids can get out of the neighborhood. So having their children perform well for the talent scouts is a big deal. It is no wonder then that they are upset when the school’s basketball coach locks the gym doors and cancels games until his players live up to the academic and behavior contracts they’ve signed. Luckily, despite job threats, personal assaults and media frenzy, Coach Carter maintains his resolve to help these undisciplined boys become better men and ultimately better players.

THE BASKET - While sports can divide fans depending on their team allegiances, it can also bring people together. With WWI raging in Europe, two young German orphans are released from an American internment camp and given into the care of a local pastor. But it is the school’s teacher that repeatedly deals with the playground fights that break out between the parentless boys and the local kids who want nothing to do with the “enemy”. In an attempt to bring some harmony to the schoolyard the teacher introduces the newly invented game of basketball to his students and eventually pits them against an adult team offering $500 to anyone who can beat them.

 

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