Billion Dollar Bracket
by Drew Bridges
BQB Publishing

"Are you interested in a proposal to make you the easiest $5M you will ever make?"

With March Madness just around the corner, Sinclair Dane contacts a handful of heavyweights in Las Vegas and proposes they support her Billion Dollar Bracket contest. Contestants pay a two-dollar entry fee for a chance to win a billion. However, the odds of winning are astronomical, which is good as Sinclair doesn't have the billion to pay a winner. Meanwhile, Dr. Lewis Cusac has moved to Boiling Springs to care for his dying niece and assume responsibility for her intellectually disabled eleven-year-old daughter, Cheeky. Taking over a remedial math class at Gardner-Webb University, he must find a way to interest the students in mathematical concepts. When a student in his class states he'd like to learn about statistics to win the Billion Dollar Bracket, Cusac proposes to use the playoffs as a class project. Will this mathematician find a way to use statistics to win the bracket, and if so, how will Sinclair pay?

Bridges scores a three-pointer (and it's all net) in this intriguing look at college basketball and March Madness. The novel, however, entails more than just sports and statistics. It is also a tale of family loyalty as Sinclair and Cusac struggle with family problems during the tournament. Cusac must forge the delicate steps of talking with Cheeky about her mother's impending death. Sinclair's mother, who is mentally ill, chooses to live on the streets of Las Vegas. Each of these storylines is handled with humility and humanity and provides balance to the book. The author also delves into the political arena of college sports and money by addressing the problems facing college athletes who must rely on scholarships alone while navigating NCAA rules. Whether one is a sports fan or not, this one is a fascinating and fun read.

A 2021 Eric Hoffer Book Award Category Finalist

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