Beth Ingram, NDSU
North Dakota State University (NDSU) Provost Beth Ingram joined her first March Madness pool in 1985. Thirty years and thirty brackets later, she earned her first win.
The EAB Daily Briefing's Provosts & Point Guards champion started the annual ritual during her graduate years at the University of Minnesota, when a peer organized a pool with bragging rights on the line.
"Of course we did them on paper then and you had to hand score them," she says, "It was a long time ago."
As a University of Iowa alumna—and former employee of 26 years—Ingram says she generally pulls for one league's teams in particular.
"So what's my strategy? I tend to root for the Big Ten. Not because of my great knowledge of basketball but because of my connection to that conference," says Ingram. "Some years that works... Other years that strategy doesn't work too well."
This year, however, she ended up choosing the Atlantic Coast Conference's Duke University to go all the way. "I figured [University of] Kentucky was going to go at least until the final round, and I didn't think they could get all the way to an undefeated season," she says.
Her Big Ten loyalty did help her out though, as she correctly predicted both [University of] Wisconsin and Michigan State University would make it to the Final Four.
Meanwhile, both Ingram's current school and her alma mater earned spots in the tournament. And she says she lucked out—on a trip to see the NDSU Bison play in the Round of 68 in Seattle, Ingram also caught the Iowa Hawkeyes game.
However, the 15th-seeded NDSU lost to No. 2 Gonzaga University, which was predictable but unfortunate—Ingram was rooting for her school and had picked NDSU to make the second round (where she had Iowa winning—a prediction she says she probably did not talk about too much at work).
"There's always an upset somewhere in the first round, it's just the matter of picking the right one," Ingram says.
Because Ingram is a provost, the EAB Daily Briefing team thinks that's fitting—but she clarifies that she has "never been a basketball player so, no, never a point guard."
—written by Emily Hatton
Next in Today's Briefing
Should large school endowments be taxed?