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Local Programmer Hopes To Cut Down On Office Pool Madness

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Many people will be be glued to the NCAA basketball tournament when it begins later in the week.

Many will spend time at work practicing "bracketology," filling out their brackets for the office pool - a March tradition in many places.

So, a Triangle man created a company that can save you time and keep you on the boss's good side. He has turned his love for college hoops into a lucrative side business.

Though March Madness is inspiring bracket fever among college basketball fans, it can take as long to score a bracket as it does to play a game. If programmer Chris Hehman has his way, people will never fill out a bracket by hand again.

"We had a bunch of fanatic fans, and we got tired of scoring by hand," Hehman said. "So we said, maybe we can put this on the web and make some money."

It's working.

Hehman wrote software that keeps track and scores a person's brackets for them. Customers filled out 4,000 brackets last year, and Hehman hopes to hit 5,000 this month.

Hehman was inspired by his former colleagues at Nortel, who didn't get much done around the office at tournament time.

"I was spending longer and longer each Monday going through the games and checking them off," he said.

Pick65.com can also make educated guesses for you. It chooses upsets based on your tolerance for risk. And the best-result scenario shows how your bracket stacks up against the competition.

Hehman will use a quick pick for his own bracket. He's so busy with his software, he doesn't have much time to watch basketball.

It costs $10 to set up 100 brackets at pick65.com You won't hit the jackpot by playing, though. Winners get T-shirts instead of cash.

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