Well, we are down to the Final Four in the annual college basketball March Madness tournament and that means that it is time to update the results of my sixth annual bracket contest sponsored once again by Outback Steakhouse.
There have been lots of upsets along the way, but in the end we still have three No. 1 seeds in Kentucky, Duke, and Wisconsin standing along with No. 7 seed Michigan State, who really doesn’t seem like that much of a Cinderella. As the teams head to Indianapolis for the Final Four starting on Saturday, the favorite to win it all is still Kentucky in their pursuit of the first perfect 40-0 season in NCAA Division I men’s college basketball history. In fact, 45 of the 68 people who entered my contest this year picked the Wildcats, who have been the No. 1 team all season.
Let’s catch up on our winners of each round of the tournament so far in my contest. In the round of 64, contest newcomer Ken Varian came out of the gates very strong by correctly picking 28 of the 32 games to be our first Bloomin’ Onion winner, courtesy of my friends at Outback. Just like the awesome runner that he is, Ken was super consistent as he missed just two games each day.
The round of 32 saw Rick Burke and Josh Wood both correctly pick 12 of the 16 winners as they each earned a free Bloomin’ Onion. Rick’s consistent picking over the first four days of the tournament also landed him at the top of the standings heading into the second week of action. (It comes as no shock to me that Rick has great guessing skills since he did win on The Price Is Right during his college days when he guessed the price of a washer and dryer exactly to win them and $100 and then won a Mazda 626 in the One Away game in 1985. RICHARD BURKE….come on down!!!! LOL)
Troy Current owned the Sweet Sixteen as he correctly picked all eight winners to catapult himself into contention as he grabbed the Bloomin’ Onion certificate for that round.
Troy, who I’m sure had his daughter make his picks for him, continued his domination in the Elite Eight by once again chosing all four of the winners as he took over the top spot on the leaderboard with the best chance to win the grand prize and bragging rights. However, four other contestants also correctly picked all four Final Four teams and will each receive a Bloomin’ Onion card. Congratulations to R.J. Bergman, Tim Ryan, Cindy Warner, and Steve Wilging.
So, the stage is set! Will Troy hold on to his lead with a Kentucky win over Duke in the title game? Will defending champion George Hartz become our first back-to-back champion if Kentucky beats Michigan State in the finals? Will R.J. grab the title with a Duke national championship? Or will Steve, who won this contest in 2011, come from 12th place to win his second title with a Wisconsin win over Duke on Monday? Plenty of excitement still to go.
If you get a chance, send a tweet to @Outback to let them know that we appreciate their support again. I’ll be handing out a few more Bloomin’ Onions along the way too in addition to the grand prize – $20 certificate.