As a native of Shipshewana and a graduate of Westview High School you would expect Keaton McDonald to know one or two things about high school basketball.
McDonald proved he knows about college basketball as well by winning the 14th annual Goshen News NCAA Reader Contest. He totaled 152 points out of a possible 192.
“It feels pretty good to be the winner,” McDonald said. “I have been entering the contest for several years, but have never been close to winning.”
A total of 32 points are available in each round of the tournament. One point is awarded for wins in the first round, two in the second and the points keep doubling in each round with 32 points being awarded for the national champion.
McDonald correctly picked the Louisville Cardinals to defeat the Michigan Wolverines in the national championship game last Monday evening in the Georgia Dome at Atlanta.
“I’m a big Notre Dame fan so I follow a lot of the Big East teams,” he said. “Having seen Louisville play several times this season I knew they were pretty good. Normally, I don’t like to pick the overall No. 1 seed because everyone else is going to pick them.”
Louisville was the second most popular pick with 136 of the record number of 761 entrants favoring the Cardinals to win it all. Only the Indiana Hoosiers had more at 341.
McDonald also felt good about his runner-up choice of the Wolverines.
“Watching Michigan play you could see they were a good team, better than the No. 4 seed the committee gave them,” he said.
McDonald is the first Shipshewana resident to win the contest and he is just the second non-Elkhart County resident to finish first. The other was Larry Miller of LaGrange in 2007.
Six winners have been from Goshen, four from New Paris and one from both Elkhart and Middlebury.
Strength of schedule was one of the big factors he used in determining his winners.
“I really looked at what teams a school has played,” he explained.”That was one reason why I was not very high on Gonzaga.
“Aggressive defense is another factor, which is why Louisville and Syracuse were two of my Final Four choices.”
The only team he had in the Final Four that didn’t make it was the Ohio State Buckeyes.
“After the first couple of rounds I was in the 100’s, but still felt good about my chances due to the number of Elite Eight teams that were still left in my bracket,” McDonald said.
McDonald is a 2007 Westview graduate. He played tennis and baseball for the Warriors.
“I played basketball up to the 8th grade, but could see the hand writing on the wall that I would not be seeing much playing time,” he said.
He went on to Huntington University where he graduated in 2011 with a degree in business management. He also played tennis for the Foresters.
McDonald is a salesman for Wana RV in Shipshewana.
Second place came down to the tiebreaker as Carolyn Disher of Goshen and Kenneth Fry of Millersburg both finished with 143 points. Disher was closer on the first tiebreaker of the total number of points scored in the championship game.
“I’m a die-hard Indiana fan, but the last time the Hoosiers played Michigan the Wolverines were just as good,” Disher said. “People that picked IU to win didn’t watch enough games late in the season. The Hoosiers weren’t the same team they had been earlier in the season.”
Disher had a pretty good run in the tournament. Not only did she finish second in The News contest she won the contest at her former employer — WorkflowOne.
All three of the top finishers in the The News contest had Louisville beating Michigan in the finale.
Following are the top 26 finishers in the contest. A complete list of all entrants can be found on the Web at goshennews.com.
NCAA Reader Contest Top 26
1, Keaton McDonald 152 points; 2, Carolyn Disher 143; 3, Kenneth Fry 143; 4, tie, Bill Dunlap and Devon Beechy 142; 6, Robert Pflederer 141; 7, Jim Bitting 139; 8, Kent Yoder 135; 9, Preston Crilow 133; 10, Mike Gibbs 132; 11, tie, Steve Cripe and Lamar Schlabach 131; 13, Richard Tyson 129; 14, Josh Miller 128; 15, tie, Lyle Miller, Kristina Harshberger and Denise Hochstetler 127; 18, Todd Linn 122; 19, tie, Fran Bontreger, Sherry Snodgrass and Mike Sullivan 121; 22, Earl Hossler 120; 23, tie, Randall Groves, Crystal Clark, Nicole Beasley and Ron Yoder 119.