Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 12, 2014

Mark Maynard: $1 billion for perfect bracket: 3/13/14

Mark Maynard
The Independent

ASHLAND — This time next week we will be examining our NCAA tournament brackets like it’s a letter from the IRS.

It will be the day of the first games (aside from the play-in games on Monday and Tuesday) and it’s practically became a national holiday.

Whether you know anything about college basketball or not, brackets will be filled out.

Most of us will come across schools we know actually zero about, but advance them past a known quantity just because.

Some will select winners based on nicknames, colors of uniforms or because that’s the school a cousin attended for one semester.

There is no science to selecting.

Warren Buffett is counting on that with his offer of $1 billion for a perfect March Madness bracket.

You read that correct: $1 billion.

The first 15 million to enter will have that opportunity if they can correctly select the winners of all 63 games.

Buffett, who ranks No. 4 on Forbes list of top billionaries, is worth an estimated $53 billion, so he can stand to take a chance.

The odds of winning are said to be one in 4,294,967,296. That seems about right considering I hardly ever make it out of the first day without four or five misses.

Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway are parterning with Quicken Loans, owned by fellow billionaire and Cleveland Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, for the contest.

The consolation prize isn’t bad. The top 20 most accurate brackets will be awarded $100,000.

So dive into the pool, either at the office or with Mr. Buffett.

I’d say we all could use $1 billion.

Taylor-made II

Taylor Hall, the daughter of Greenup County School Superintendent Steve Hall who I wrote about last week, continued her storybook season last week as Tennessee-Chattanooga defeated Davidson 71-45 to clinch the Southern Conference championship and the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

Taylor, who had already been named the league’s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, collected 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the rout of Davidson. She was also named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

UTC (29-3) will learn its opponent on Monday when the NCAA women’s bracket is revealed.

I got spirit?

Attendance from the 16th Region basketball tournament indicated an overall rise, as did the gate receipts, but several who attended the games this week and last were asking me about Ashland’s student body.

It seems the Tomcats and Kittens didn’t have many of their peers in Morehead cheering for them.

It has been a trend for Ashland in recent years with the student body (not the adults).

Students from Greenup County and Lewis County especially love to support their teams in the regional tournament and they came out in full force again.

Given the success of the Tomcats and Kittens you would have expected better support from the students.

Worthy honor

Knott Central defeated Hazard 49-47 in a pulsating 14th Region championship game Tuesday night.

When it came down to net-cutting time, they let super fan Burl Bowen, a 94-year-old World War II veteran, cut a piece of the twine.

Now that’s what you call cool.

90th anniversary

The Ashland Lions Club celebrated its 90th anniversary as a service club at Monday’s meeting.

The club was chartered on Feb. 12, 1924, and the first club president was B.R. Cisco. During the club’s 90-year history of service to the Ashland community, it has never repeated a president. The club’s current president is Suzanne Smith.

In honor of the occasion, Ashland Mayor Chuck Charles presented the club with a proclamation honoring the club and its longevity in the community.

The club, and Lions Club International, are focused on eyesight and preventing blindness. The Ashland club provides eye exams and glasses to those who qualify.

The club is one of the Tri-State’s oldest service clubs. It meets at noon Tuesdays at the Ashland Elks Lodge.

For more information about the club, call Smith at (606) 329-0276.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2648.