With Robert Griffin III‘s Heisman Trophy and the top-ranked Lady Bears’ perfect record, Ken Hoffner, assistant director of the New Jersey Laborers’ Union Health and Safety Fund, says it’s time for the men’s team at Baylor to help him go the distance in NJBIZ Brackets.
“For Baylor sports fans, it’s been an incredible year. There’s a lot of momentum of success going into this tournament, and our men’s team is riding it,” Hoffner said. “When I was at Baylor in ’78, football was king and basketball was an afterthought. Basketball has taken a big step up since then, but the men are still catching up to the women.”
While Hoffner hasn’t flown out to Waco, Texas, this season to watch any games, his former classmates have been courtside all year, scouting the team and reporting stats back to him. After a briefing from a slew of e-mail exchanges leading up to tonight’s Sweet Sixteen matchup with Karen Percoco‘s No. 10 Xavier, Hoffner is betting on 3-point shooter Brady Heslip, who he says “lives and breathes basketball,” to carry the Bears on offense.
“Xavier is a Jesuit school, and my friends told me that Baylor beat St. Mary’s, another Jesuit school, in the Sweet Sixteen two years ago — so I think it could happen again,” Hoffner said.
But if the University of North Carolina and Baylor meet each other in the championship round, it will be “a tough one” for the former UNC-Chapel Hill graduate student, who said his “loyalties are divided” between the two schools.
In the Midwest, Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla P.C. shareholder Sharlene Hunt knows where her loyalties stand, and her dad won’t let her forget it.
“I don’t really keep up with Kansas (University), but my dad, a big Jayhawks fan, is constantly sending me regular blurbs on the team,” Hunt said. “I’m more into the team now than when I was there.”
While the Jayhawks took flight from the No. 10 Purdue Boilermakers, represented by Christopher Stracco, of Day Pitney LLP, Hunt noted that her third-round opponent did a “good job blocking Kansas from the basket.”
In the Sweet Sixteen tonight, Hunt hopes that “Sunday saviors” Thomas Robinson and Elijah Johnson will get to the basket before Michelle Everman‘s No. 11 North Carolina State Wolfpack.
“Everyone’s aware that we lost to an 11 seed last year,” Hunt said. “But Kansas is a greater team with better talent on offense, so I hope we’ll see that victory tonight.”