MU student wins bracket challenge

Tuesday, April 8, 2008 | 9:12 p.m. CDT; updated 6:57 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Karen Kraus doesn’t fancy herself a college basketball fan.

However, after Kansas defeated Memphis 75-68 in Monday night’s national championship game, Kraus found her bracket on top of the other 5,489 fans who entered their brackets in Luke Winn’s pool on the social networking site Facebook. Winn, a writer for, covered the tournament for the website on his “Tourney Blog.”

Kraus, 24, is a public health master’s student from Boonville and says she rarely follows college basketball outside of the Tigers. For that reason, she says she spent less than a minute filling out her winning bracket.

“I know it drives people crazy,” Kraus said of her selections, which she credits largely to dumb luck. “I pretty much just filled out my bracket based on the rankings.”

For her efforts, Kraus received a belt buckle emblazoned with the 2008 Final Four logo, featuring a cowboy hat in the spirit of San Antonio, the host of the Final Four, courtesy of Kraus may also receive an iPod nano, but must wait on a drawing to decide which two of the top three finishers receive the Apple MP3 player.

For most MU fans, even thinking of picking Kansas to win a national championship could be blasphemous, but Kraus says she had her reasons.

“I just figured, if they were going to win it, at least I could get something out of the deal instead of just being mad about it,” Kraus said. “Don’t worry though, I’m still loyal to the Tigers.”

Kraus says she didn’t really follow the tournament early on, but once she saw how well her bracket was doing and what would happen if she correctly guessed the outcomes of the final three games of the season, watching the games quickly became a priority.

“Saturday night was my 24th birthday actually,” Kraus said. “So I spent it watching the games and kind of quietly hoping KU won.”

So, what do Kraus’s powers of prediction say about Mizzou’s chances next season?

“I don’t know if I could really make a prediction,” Kraus said of her favorite team, which finished 16-16 in 2008. “Hopefully things will just get better and they’ll be able to make the tournament.”

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