A little confidence in NJBIZ Brackets can be a dangerous thing.
Just ask Jon Vogel, of AvalonBay Communities, who had to watch his No. 2 Duke University fade in a fast-paced matchup with Lehigh University. Today, though Lehigh lost to Xavier in weekend action, it was Craig Domalewski‘s turn to gloat.
Ahead of the tip-off between Duke and Lehigh, Vogel said “there’s a better chance of the sun coming up tonight” than Lehigh prevailing.
“I am sure Vogel had a tough time sleeping on Friday night. Not only did his team lose, but the glare from that sun rising must have made it hard for him to fall asleep,” said the Dughi, Hewit & Domalewski partner in an e-mail. “I’m going to send him a pair of Lehigh sunglasses to help him out.”
It’s all part of the corner-office trash talking that makes NJBIZ Brackets so entertaining to watch. As executives look forward to the Sweet Sixteen, participants are as revved up as ever to watch their almae matres head down the road to the Final Four in New Orleans.
One executive who will be there in person is Peter Schofel, whose Ohio State University punched its ticket for Boston with a win over No. 7 Gonzaga, represented by Avaya Inc.‘s Luino David Dell’Osso.
“We always have a top-notch coach and top-notch players … some of the best in the league,” Schofel said. “We lost some of our best ones last year, but we still have guys that hit their shots, so I assume I’ll be seeing them at the Final Four.”
Schofel now prepares to face United Way of Northern New Jersey’s John Franklin on Thursday, when Ohio State takes on No. 6 University of Cincinnati.
“I don’t know my opponent, but I would like to get to know him when he buys me a victory drink,” Schofel said.
Deana Lykins also entered NJBIZ Brackets as a high seed, and like many other executives, has been breathing easier since Vogel and his Blue Devils headed home.
“When I was (at Kentucky), there was that infamous last-second Duke shot over Christian Laettner in the ’92 semifinals. It was a heartbreaking loss,” said Lykins, president of the Insurance Council of New Jersey. “When you’re from UK, the sooner Duke loses, the better.”
Lykins’ Wildcats blew out Christi Shaw‘s No. 8 Iowa State University Cyclones on Saturday night to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, where she hopes for a comeback victory against No. 4 Indiana University, represented by Medco Health Solutions Inc.‘s Lowell Weiner.
“We only lost two games this year, and one was to Indiana in the beginning of (the) season,” Lykins said. “We’re a better team now, and I’m glad we have the chance to prove ourselves again.”
Meanwhile, in the fairytale bracket between No. 12 South Florida and No. 13 Ohio, it’s real estate titan Mitch Hersh who’s still wearing the glass slippers after edging Ashley Smith, of the MWW Group, on Sunday.
“I’m proud of the way our team came out to play,” said Smith, an associate account executive with MWW. “We still beat two teams for the chance to even play in the third round, so I’m super impressed. Next year, I’m hoping we can come back on that momentum and make it to the tournament again.”