An air ball from one of college basketball's better--and best-selling--Boswells (A Season on the Brink and A Season Inside). In what's clearly a labor of love, Feinstein recounts how the 1977-78 Duke University basketball team had a near-championship season, losing the NCAA title by a handful of points to mighty Kentucky. While comprised largely of underclassmen, the squad never quite lived up to its dynastic promise. Nor did any of the players achieve superstardom in the NBA, although three--Gene Banks, Jim Spanarkel, and the still-active Mike Gminski--enjoyed journeyman careers as pros. The author (a 1977 graduate of Duke) takes a clearly personal interest in the fortunes of his alma mater's Cinderella cagers. Indeed, he tracked down and interviewed the club's members and coaches. For all its sometime togetherness, however, the 1977-78 team offers precious few lessons to be learned. As a practical matter, virtually all of the still-young athletes have gotten on with notably productive lives, and no amount of often-brilliant reportage can invest their experiences with other than spurious significance. A flashy, frequently stylish, albeit losing effort. The lengthy (400-page) text includes roster and statistical data.