Bart Oates, executive vice president of Cohn Real Estate LLC, said he's ready to "spank" ex-Seton Hall Law School classmate Patrick Dunican, chairman and managing director of Gibbons P.C., when their respective almae matres — Brigham Young University and Iona College — hit the court for tonight's play-in games for the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Oates and Dunican meet in the opening round of this year's edition of NJBIZ Brackets, in which New Jersey business executives selected by NJBIZ go head to head as their schools march to the Final Four; when the 68 teams get through the ranks, so do the doctors, lawyers, researchers and marketers representing them. The full brackets will be posted when the field of 64 takes to the court Thursday.
"No one believed Iona would get a bid this year. I wasn't feeling optimistic over the weekend, either," Dunican said. "But once they got in, I thought, they could really win it all."
To bring down the Cougars, lifelong Iona fan Dunican has put his faith in players with a "lot of looks" from the NBA, like junior guard Lamont "MoMo" Jones, an Elite Eight veteran and two-time BYU opponent from his two-year service with the University of Arizona. But the Gaels' pro prospects don't phase Oates, who said his team's strong but quick defensive tempo is an equal match for Iona's lightning-fast offense.
"I won't say anything about (Dunican) on a personal level, but oh, my team's going to spank his," Oates said. "BYU has got 20,000 people in the stands every game, but Iona only has a few thousand. It's a big advantage to be used to that excitement level."
Dunican said the Gaels have been right on the fringe of getting into the big dance for as long as he and his Iona alum dad can remember, but that hasn't stopped the team from producing NBA legends like former Iona head coach Jeff Ruland.
"I expect this game will be incredibly high scoring," Dunican said. "It's too bad I couldn't battle Bart to represent Seton Hall, but then, I really wouldn't want to get into an arm-wrestling match with him." That's probably for the best — in his NFL playing days, Oates was listed at 6-foot-3, 265 pounds.
In other NJBIZ Brackets action tonight, Automatic Data Processing's Alvin Rew leads Mississippi Valley against Western Kentucky product Allison Dorsey, of BASF.