TiVo is for rookies. Matt McKee, a Chicago tech company account rep, takes two days off every year to watch the opening games of the NCAA Tournament as they happen.
For the third straight year, he will transform his family’s Wisconsin lake house into the ultimate viewing parlor, where he and his guests will watch two full days of Round of 64 games on four side-by-side TVs.
“I’ve got vacation days,” McKee says. “I can’t think of a better way to use them.”
This year, people are flying in from California, the East Coast and Florida, carrying on a tradition that started in Chicago apartments after McKee and his friends graduated from Iowa State University almost 20 years ago.
Of course, they draw brackets and pick teams. McKee estimates he has won the pool five times in the past 20 years. All season, he streams his beloved ISU Cyclones on ESPN3 and follows the rest of the Big 12 and the Big Ten on TV.
Iowa State fans are accustomed to their team getting knocked out of the tournament every year (if they even make it in). When that happens, McKee roots for his Final Four picks.
“I go straight to my pool sheet,” he says. “It’s all about winning the pool when my team goes down.”
His secret to going all the way in the pool? “Always pick a team with an excellent point guard for the championship,” he says. It’s worked at least 30 percent of the time. He’s probably onto something.