Weather expert also forecasts NCAA wins


    LOUISVILLE, Ky.—University of Louisville meteorology professor Tim Dowling studies weather conditions on other planets for a living.

    Over the past two weeks, he’s also mastered another kind of forecasting—bracketology.

    Last night, Dowling surged into the top brackets of ESPN’S Men’s College Basketball Tournament Challenge, beating out President Obama, longtime sportscaster Dick Vitale and millions of others trying to predict NCAA playoff winners in the online contest.

    Not only did he correctly pick seven Elite Eight winners, but he also named UofL, the University of Kentucky, Kansas and Ohio State as teams that would make it to the Final Four.

    Dowling, who entered a single bracket in the ESPN Challenge March 11 at the beginning of the basketball tournament, is now perched at the 100th percentile and tied at spot 1,036 in the ESPN game out of a field of more than 6.4 million entries.

    And he’s picked UofL to win the whole thing.

    People who end up in the top 1 percent of the ESPN contest get to take part in a random drawing for a $10,000 gift certificate, but that’s not what’s motivating Dowling, he said.

    “I’ve done this for three years,” he said. “I did horribly last year. This time I thought more about what is unique to each round. I’m having more luck and more fun.”

    Dowling, an associate professor of physics and astronomy who directs UofL’s Atmospheric Science Program, so far has accumulated 1,050 points in the contest.

    Obama’s bracket was busted when his national championship pick, North Carolina, lost to Kansas, ESPN’s contest blog reported. The president now has 860 points and is ranked at the 96.1 percentile. Vitale has earned only 450 points and is limping along at the 9.4 percentile.

    For more information, call Dowling at 502-640-3527. To see his bracket, visit