When a sports franchise releases a new game every year, there’s a constant struggle to keep things fresh. “March Madness ’08” is no exception. Everything else is more or less the same as previous installments, except maybe the inclusion of the new body-hugging jerseys real-life players now wear. The one significant new element is something called “low-post play,” which translates to both sides of the ball. On offense, a host of trick moves ranging from spins to pump fakes can be executed, and on defense you can change your stance to better defend against your opponent. It works on both sides without feeling gimmicky.

The game does suffer from a few flaws, such as the propensity for your player to dribble out of bounds when trying one of these “low-post” moves anywhere near the sidelines. Also, the shooting mechanism is still so simple, it often feels like dumb luck decides whether or not you make a shot. And free throw shooting is ridiculously easy. Eighteen for 18 for the game? No problem.

It’s not as good as “2K8” but if you squint you won’t really notice the difference. It’s solid in execution, although not revolutionary by any stretch of the imagination. When are they going to bring back shattering the backboard from “NBA Jam”?

“March Madness ’08”

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

XBox 360

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