Washington’s own brand of March Madness consumed Capitol Hill this week with dueling protests at the Supreme Court, public outcry over Trayvon Martin’s killing reverberating through Congress, and a contentious debate over a controversial budget proposal.
Still, perhaps no one has experienced the mayhem this week quite like Margaux Matter.
Matter is a legislative counsel for California Congressman Jerry Lewis and right now she has the 16th best picks for ESPN’s bracket challenge out of 6.5 million entries.
“I feel pretty awesome. I mean it’s absolutely crazy. I know nothing about basketball,” Matter told ABC News. “In the past, I’ve usually ranked in the middle or bottom.”
Matter says she’s only attended one college basketball game in her life – 11 years ago. Nevertheless, she correctly guessed 13 of 16 in the Sweet Sixteen, 7 of 8 in the Elite Eight, and all four of her Final Four picks are still alive.
To offer some perspective, President Barack Obama made some solid picks, placing him in the 96th percentile, but more than a quarter-million sports fans are beating the commander in chief.
So how’d she do it? Matter says her secret was blending personal loyalty with political allegiance.
“I did pick the major upset of Lehigh over Duke, and that is because my husband is a Lehigh engineer,” she said. “I had picked Xavier to go very far and that was a shout-out to my speaker, Mr. Boehner, who is also a Cincinnati, Ohio, native.”
Matter can’t win it all – the best she can finish is tied for fifth with four fans ranked ahead of her with the same scenario chosen for the Final Four.
Matter says she didn’t put any money on her bracket because office rules prohibit gambling, but she’s certainly earned bragging rights around the water cooler.
With Lewis retiring after the election this fall, she’ll need to find a new job soon.
“Maybe with all of these fantastic picks, I can become an ESPN talking head. That would be great.”
Suddenly, she might be qualified.