Fans of college basketball who compete with friends to pick winners during March Madness each year need only look to their iPhones for an easier bracket-sharing system. Tom Klimek, manager of network design for the Office of Information Technology, launched the application “Men’s Bracket 2012 College Basketball Tournament” earlier this month. The app is his third men’s basketball March Madness bracket system for the iPad and iPhone. Klimek said the application eliminates the hassle of manually filling out, and tracking a March Madness bracket. “Instead of everybody having to fill out paper copies of a bracket and then give it to somebody to keep track of, you can just download the app, create your own pool, invite your friends and all the scoring is done automatically,” Klimek said. Klimek said both the men’s and women’s bracket applications he developed with his business partner Peter Massey have been extremely successful, breaking the top-10 paid sports applications within 24 hours of their releases. Klimek said he attributes the success of the applications to a process of constant dialogue with customers. “I think the success is due to listening to our customers,” Klimek said. “Also, we’re basketball enthusiasts ourselves, so we try to put everything in the apps that we know we would want ourselves.” Klimek said he and Massey decided not to advertise this year’s application since past promotions have shown little increase in sales. “It seems that most of our apps are found by people who are just searching for an app on their phone, instead of by people looking for a specific app after viewing an advertisement,” Klimek said. Klimek said numerous journals and consumer reports have reviewed their applications, and Microsoft even approached them to do business. “They wanted to do a men’s bracket app for the Windows 7 phone, which we felt we didn’t have the time to do,” Klimek said. “But it was still nice to be recognized by such a big company.” Klimek this year’s tournament has been a rough one though, with his championship pick of Syracuse failing to pan out. “My fourteen year-old daughter picked a much better bracket than mine,” Klimek said. “She picked Kentucky to win it all.”
Lionel Messi, who put in a superb 64-minute performance, opened the scoring after just three minutes and when Ivan Rakitic doubled the lead soon after, the writing appeared to be on the wall for a sluggish Real Madrid side.Yet Zinedine Zidane’s side quickly woke from their slumber and by the end of the first half, goals from Mateo Kovacic and Marco Asensio had pulled them level.What followed was entertaining, often breathless friendly fare before Pique struck that decisive goal.This was nothing more than a pre-season match and obviously wasn’t going to affect the overall record between these two old rivals, which stands at 93 wins for Real, 91 for Barcelona — who had won their most recent meeting with Messi’s last-gasp winner — his 500th for the club.Madrid had the last laugh in May, winning La Liga and the Champions League, but actually arrived in Miami off the back of two exhibition defeats – a penalty shoot-out defeat to Manchester United before Manchester City also did a number on them in Los Angeles, running out 4-1 winners.Barca, meanwhile, had beaten United and Juventus in International Champions Cup friendly competition, but the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Neymar — and Paris Saint-Germain’s reported readiness to make a 218 million-euro move for him — has cast a serious cloud over their two-week stay in North America.The Brazilian started for Ernesto Valverde’s side and while the rest of his team-mates head home he will fly to China to perform commercial obligations on behalf of the club.Neymar (L) of Barcelona challenges Raphael Varane of Real Madrid during their International Champions Cup football match in Miami, Florida © AFP / HECTOR RETAMALValverde put off post-match questions about Neymar.“I always try to talk about things that happen rather than things that might happen,” he said. “We are going to wait. From my perspective, we have Neymar in our team, we count on him and we have to see.”On Saturday it was Neymar starting alongside Messi and Luis Suarez while Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema were all unleashed by Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane.Neymar’s first involvement was to fall to the ground and clutch his ankle.For a moment it looked like his evening would be over before it began, though he was back on the pitch in time to see Messi open the scoring with just three minutes on the clock.The Argentine ace waltzed into the box and lifted a shot past Keylor Navas via a deflection off Raphael Varane.And it wasn’t long before Navas was picking the ball out of the back of the net once again.On six minutes, Neymar, gradually moving more freely, squared the ball and it found Rakitic, whose finish was clinically struck in the seventh minute.Real had barely escaped their own half and were lucky not to fall further behind on 13 minutes when Suarez fired over from close range.Yet with Madrid’s first effort on goal, Zidane’s side pulled one back.Croatian Kovacic evaded a challenge just outside the box before arrowing the ball past the outstretched hand of Jasper Cillessen.Suddenly, the game was on. Benzema, who’d barely had a sniff, dragged just wide on 19 minutes with Cillessen beaten.Navas remained the busier keeper, however, and was on hand to repel Messi once again on 31 minutes.It was a key save because in the 36th Asensio levelled for Madrid.Los Blancos were counter-attacking dangerously and it was left to Modric who squared for the Spaniard who took full advantage of Jordi Alba missing the ball to rifle past a horribly exposed Cillessen.– ‘Game of two faces’ –Although they came back from the early goals, Zidane was downbeat about his team’s performance. But he said there was plenty of time to get things right before Madrid take on Manchester United in the UEFA Super Cup on August 8.“Today was a game of two faces for us, one bad, one better,” he said. “Ultimately we are preparing for the eighth — we will be ready.”Both teams retained their star men after the restart and it was Neymar whose pinpoint free-kick was steered home by Pique in the 50th.“We made a good start, generated some good opportunities,” Valverde said. “Overall, we did well trying to dominate the match.“I expect the best from Messi and all the players but he is extraordinary and we are aiming to win all the titles this season.”While the clash of the Spanish rivals was supposedly a friendly, Rakitic was lucky to escape a red card just after the hour mark when he appeared to push referee Jair Marrufo.Neymar departed on 72 minutes in what could have been his final performance in Barcelona colors.“I don’t want to speculate about Neymar,” Valverde said. “I see him in the same place I have seen him recently: on the pitch with us.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Gerard Pique of Barcelona scores a goal in the second half against Real Madrid during their International Champions Cup 2017 match in Miami Gardens, Florida © GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP / Mike EhrmannMIAMI, United States, Jul 30 – Gerard Pique delivered Barcelona’s match winner over Real Madrid on Saturday as El Clasico Miami lived up to the hype.The Spanish international steered in a Neymar free-kick in the 50th minute to seal a 3-2 win for the Catalan giants in front of 66,014 at the Hard Rock Stadium.