West Virginia's postseason-free 13-19 men's basketball season cast a pall over the hoops season for many fans of the program.
One man, however, seized opportunity when many saw gloom during this year's NCAA Tournament. He's $2,500 richer because of it.
Morgan Sheets -- a fitting surname for the so-called sheets of integrity -- finished first nationally in a Bracket Bucks competition offered to Charleston Newspapers readers. Never mind the office pools with a couple dozen people.
Sheets had the highest-scoring bracket of more than 180,000 entrants in the national contest, which includes newspapers from West Virginia to California to Minnesota to Florida.
Sheets scored 1,564 of a possible 2,000 points.
How'd the 44-year-old Tornado resident pull it off?
"I'm a big Mountaineer fan," he said. "I always let my heart overrule my head and I pick them to go all the way.
"This year, I didn't have to worry about that."
Sheets, a Charleston Catholic graduate, had Louisville against Michigan in the national championship game. He also correctly predicted Syracuse to win the East Region as a No. 4 seed. He performed well in the opening rounds to edge a Morgantown resident by one point.
"I followed basketball pretty close this year," Sheets said. "It was hard when I got to the final 16, so I based my picks on coaching matchups."
That's why he kept pushing fourth-seeded Michigan through each round. As a WVU fan, he knew Coach John Beilein would lead the Wolverines deep into the 68-team, three-week event.
"I felt strong about Michigan early in the year and they made it to No. 1," he said. "When they stumbled that was kind of a good thing, I think. Gonzaga jelled too early and were playing their best ball in January.
"Beilein, knowing him, he's a really good coach. I had a feeling after (WVU) played Michigan that Michigan would be in the championship game."
Sheets is a Charleston native who went into the Navy after graduation. He participated in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield. He later worked as a trout farmer in Pocahontas County before taking a job with Gunnoe Farms.
In his spare time, Sheets coaches fourth and fifth grade girls basketball in the St. Albans Basketball League. He might be compelled to use his extra scratch on new breathable jerseys.