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FN Spy: NCAA Bracket Showdown

March Madness hits the footwear industry as execs make their picks.

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The footwear industry is going mad … over March Madness.

For the team at Finish Line Inc., regional pride rules their brackets. “It’s the [Indiana University] Hoosiers for me, of course. If not them, us folks who live in the Midwest — even transplanted New Yorkers — look to any of the other Big 10 teams to cut down the cords!” said CEO Glenn Lyon. President and Chief Merchandising Officer Sam Sato concurred, picking Indiana or Michigan, and President and COO Steve Schneider made it three: “I agree with Glenn that the Hoosiers will take down the nets.”

Ed Rosenfeld, CEO of Steven Madden Ltd., is also throwing support behind his hometown team, the  University of Michigan. “I might have placed a small wager,” the exec admitted.

And Dana Davis is betting against her brother John. What’s the wager? “Lunch at the Ivy — it might even include dessert,” she quipped. And while Louisville is her top pick, Davis is also wrapped up in the buzz around Florida Gulf Coast University. “How can you not love their crazy Eagle dance?”

But novice bracketologist Susan Itzkowitz, president of Marc Fisher, decided not to wager on her top pick, Louisville. “It’s my first year doing brackets, so I didn’t bet,” she said.

Superfan and Schwartz & Benjamin CEO Danny Schwartz (he’s in three pools) also has the Louisville Cardinals taking the top spot. But for the Final Four he expects they’ll be joined by Ohio State, Indiana and Michigan (where his daughter is a freshman). And he’ll see his picks play out in real time. “My son Jake and I will be in Atlanta for the Final Four,” Schwartz told Spy. “This year will be our 10th year in a row.”