We’re well into April now, and you know what that means: March Madness is nearly over.

Tonight, Michigan and Louisville play for the NCAA men’s basketball championship in Atlanta.

Here’s a look at today’s pages advancing the game…

DETROIT FREE PRESS

Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 232,696

The Free Press goes all-out once again with a spectacular photoillustration of the Wolverines — the Michigan team, not the superhero — by staffer Eric Millikin.

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Eric worked with images from Getty, USA Today and the Freep‘s own files.

Joe Cybulski designed the rest of that page.

Also in today’s paper was a “Big Dance” special section, featuring a cover designed by Ryan Ford.

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The press conference art is by Freep staffer Kirthmon F. Dozier.

DETROIT NEWS

Detroit, Mich.

Circulation: 113,508

The News today stripped the story atop its nameplate.

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The picture is by staffer John T. Grellick.

If anyone at the News would care to send me the special section cover, I’d be glad to add it this evening.

UPDATE – 9:15 p.m. PDT

Page one was designed by Antone Amye.

Here is Monday’s sports front.

SptFront

Presentation editor Rick Epps tells us:

I designed in and wrote the headline off a great photo from Daniel Mears.

COURIER-JOURNAL

Louisville, Ky.

Circulation: 154,033

The Louisville paper today wrapped a preview around the newspaper, so you didn’t see this today at the Newseum.

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The page was designed by Chris Dye, Jeff Patterson and Ryan Hildebrandt of the Gannett Design Studio in Louisville. The picture was file art.

One reason for the wrap: Louisville is two-times lucky this April: The Cardinals women also won last night, with a 64-57 come-from-behind win over California. So the Courier-Journal plastered that all over the regular front page.

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The picture is by staffer Scott Utterback.

The Louisville women will play UConn Tuesday for the women’s national championship.

HARTFORD COURANT

Hartford, Conn.

Circulation: 132,006

I haven’t been posting women’s tournament pages. But today’s were pretty decent. I love both the celebration photo and the headline afront today’s Hartford Courant.

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The picture was by Courant staffer Cloe Poisson.

CONNECTICUT POST

Bridgeport, Conn.

Circulation: 48,701

The Connecticut Post made good use of a Getty picture by Chris Graythen.

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RECORD-JOURNAL

Meriden, Conn.

Circulation: 16,708

The little paper in Meriden used a picture by Dave Martin of the Associated Press, shooting down from the catwalk on the opening tipoff.

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REPUBLICAN AMERICAN

Waterbury, Conn.

Circulation: 42,673

The paper in Waterbury also went with AP art today.

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THE DAY

New London, Conn.

Circulation: 32,779

And The Day of New London had staff art by Tim Martin, but…

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Look how little impact that art had compared to the three or four examples we just saw.

Hey, I’m all in favor of sending staffers to shoot postseason games. But you have to do more than just shoot it well — you have use it well, too. If you don’t, then you might as well just go with wire art.

In this case, the paper might have been better off to plan for vertical art which might have had more impact. Or knock one of those four stories off the front page. Perhaps the one across the bottom that promotes the paper’s own project.

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

San Jose, Calif.

Circulation: About 225,175

You don’t often see post-game pictures from a women’s locker room on page one. But that’s what the Merc ran today following Cal’s loss to Louisville.

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The picture is by staffer D. Ross Cameron. And as much as I like the photo, I just love the headline. Nicely done.

The Merc’s sister papers were nearly identically designed today.

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On the left is the Contra Costa Times of Walnut Creek, circulation 67,464. On the right is the Oakland Tribune, circulation 52,459.

SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE

South Bend, Ind.

Circulation: 59,351

And in South Bend, the Tribune put the Irish women’s loss in the skybox today.

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That, too, didn’t turn out so well. A montage of images rarely works — especially in a confined space like that. Better to pick out one image and use it larger.

With the exception of the Free Press pages and the Louisville wrap, all these pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

Previous coverage of March (and April) Madness 2013, here in the blog…

  • March 18: A look at a few notable NCAA Tournament pages and sections
  • March 20: Five more fun March Madness pages for you
  • March 25: How the Fort Myers paper played last night’s huge win by Florida Gulf Coast University
  • March 26: More Florida Gulf Coast Univ. pages from the Fort Myers paper
  • March 29: Special editions are a slam-dunk today in ‘Dunk City,’ Florida
  • March 30: A look at Saturday’s March Madness pages
  • April 1: A look at Monday’s Final Four basketball tourney pages
  • April 7: A look at today’s Final Four pages