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Rivertowns Fans Are Getting Set For 'March Madness'

Michael Puteric, left, and Bekim Shkreli of Yonkers and Hastings, will be watching the NCAA basketball tournament. Photo Credit: Danny LoPriore
Betsy Waczek, left, and Barbara Lisio are not avid NCAA Tournament fans this year but do have interest in sports. Photo Credit: Danny LoPriore

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Match Madness, the annual National Collegiate Athletic Assocation basketball tournaments that begin today with men's First Four games, have millions filling out tournament brackets to prove their expertise.

In the Rivertowns, many will follow men's and women's tournaments over the two weeks for the love of the games and a chance to win office, sports tavern and other bracket pools that include on offered by investment legend Warren Buffett, who is offering a $1 billion prize for anyone who can fill out a perfect bracket.

"I'll watch all the games and do my bracket," Michael Puteric of Yonkers said. "I love college basketball. The way the teams are now -- with so many good teams -- it's tough to get the games. I use some basketball knowledge and pick some teams that I have a good feeling about, like Louisville and Michigan State."

While there are avid fans deep into the Madness, some, like Betsy Waczek and Barbara Losio, prefer other sports or have no betting interest in this year's tournament. The Hastings residents took a break from the work as election day poll volunteers at the James Harmon Community Center to talk about the tournament.

"I graduated St John's University and they just missed making the tournament," Losio said of the Red Storm, who drew the No. 1 seed for the National Invitational Tournament. "I do enjoy sports, but I don't know if I'll watch much of the college tournament."

Waczek, a Giants football and Yankees baseball fan, is betting on a bracket.

"I love sports, but I don't have a favorite in the college games," Waczek said. "My daughter lives next door to the Marist College women's coach and I know they are in the (NCAA Women's Tournament."

Bekim Shkreli is a sports fan but will wait until the college championship game to watch.

"I don't fill out a bracket or watch the early games," Shkreli said. "Let me know when they play for the championship."

Tom Shkreli, a former basketball player at Hastings High, said he watches the games but doesn't have time to fill out brackets and see too many games between work and family.

"I'm usually working or busy doing other things," he said. "But I know lots of people are into it. I'll catch some of it I'm sure."

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