Only five of the Payson Roundup staff's picks to win the NCAA men's basketball championship are alive and well in the tournament.
Editor Jerry Thebado's choice of Duke was wise. The Blue Devils defeated Alabama State and Seton Hall to advance to the Sweet 16.
Also still in the NCAA regionals is Dave Rawsthorne's choice of Connecticut. The Huskies advanced to the final 16 by defeating Vermont and DePaul.
Dave also picked Oklahoma State as a title contender and that was on target. The Cowboys are in contention thanks to wins over Eastern Washington and Memphis.
To be completely fair, we asked Dave to settle on one team rather than two.
His final answer -- Connecticut.
Publisher Richard Haddad's Kansas selection was solid. The Jayhawks reached the regional round by beating Chicago and the University of Pacific.
Dennis Fendler chose Wake Forest and the team advanced with victories over VCU and Manhattan.
Scott Smith said Alabama, a No. 8 seed, would survive. So far, he has been right --he Crimson Tide has beaten So. Illinois and Stanford.
Stanford, my choice and that of Marge Hanscom, was eliminated by the loss to Alabama. Jay Cooper's selection, Gonzaga, lost to surprising Nevada.
Sherrie McQuerrey's dreams of being the office hoop expert ended when N. Carolina was upended by Texas.
Jim Keyworth's choice, Arizona, never made it past the first round. The Cats were sent packing by Seton Hall.
Melinda McQuerrey's pick, Kentucky, was ambushed by UAB.
Teresa McQuerrey's Murray State, a No. 12 seed, fell by the wayside in a first-round loss to Illinois.
The hoop tension in our newspaper office is heating up as Thebado, Rawsthorne, Haddad, Fendler and Smith say they are ready to sweat out the Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final Four and the championship to be decided April 5 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Who'll be the Roundup's hoop guru? Stay tuned.
MSA tickets still available
This year's Mogollon Sporting Association banquet at the Mazatzal Casino is just around the corner, and tickets are going fast.
The celebratory evening, which is the 12th annual the MSA has hosted, begins at 5 p.m. with a no-host cocktail hour. At 6 p.m., a filet mignon steak or chicken dinner will be served.
The fun reaches a pinnacle about 7 p.m. when master of ceremonies, Will E. Dietz, begins the raffles and giveaways. Auctions overseen by Dave Yoke are also a jovial and usually profitable portion of the evening.
Tickets for the May 1 event are $70 per person and may be purchased by calling MSA president Judy Baker at (928) 472-2588 or Koon at (928) 474-1662.
Spaces left in Stocking Stuffer golf tournament
The Payson Stocking Stuffer Golf Tournament is held annually to raise money for Christmas holiday gift giving to underprivileged children and adults in the Rim country.
Last Christmas, the Santa's List organization -- which sponsors the benefit tournament -- helped more than 1,000 needy residents by providing them with gifts.
The good news for Santa's List and golfers is that the 18th annual tournament will be held for the first time on the plush Chaparral Pines Golf Course.
The competition, which is open to all amateur golfers, gets off to a shotgun start at 11 a.m. May 11.
The entry fee is $225 per player. The Early Bird fee is $200 for those who sign up before March 19. The fee includes green fees, cart, lunch and a prize party at the conclusion of the tournament.
Prizes will be awarded for closest-to-the-pin drives on par 3 holes and for longest drives.
The lucky golfer who shoots a hole-in-one on a pre-selected hole will win a 2004 vehicle from Chapman Auto Center, according to tournament director Rowena Marrs.
Entry forms are available at the Payson Roundup. 708 N. Beeline Highway. For more information, call (928) 472-8827 or (888) 843-8032.