DDD March Challenge slated

    The annual Daily Democrat “March Challenge” NCAA picking contest will he held as usual this year, the 25th year for the contest.
    Those who want to participate should fill out a bracket, which will be available on line, or write down the names of the winners each round, and email it to sports@decaturdailydemocrat.com, or mail to the Democrat Sports Dept., 141 S. 2nd St., Decatur, or bring it to the front office.
    The prize again will be a dinner for four at Arnold’s Drive-In in Decatur.
    Those who get their picks in by Tuesday (tomorrow) will be credited with a point for each win in the early play-in games. Deadline for entering the contest is noon on Thursday. Bracket sheets must be in the Daily Democrat front office at that time.
    The point system this year will be as follows: 1 point, 1st round winners; 3 points, 2nd round winners; 5 points, 3rd round (final 80 winners; 10 points per Final Four correct picks; 12 points for semi-final winners; 25 points for picking champion.
    The initial "March Challenge" contest came in 1987. Daily Democrat sports editor Jim Hopkins won that contest in what was called the "I Challenge Hop" NCAA picking contest.
    Hopkins has not won since that first year.
    Hopkins and long time Daily Democrat sports writer Joe Spaulding will puclish their picks later this week.