This year’s March Madness contest ended with a bang as Villanova hit a buzzer-beater to down the only remaining No. 1 seed North Carolina to claim the NCAA title 77-74.
Of the 51 people who entered my seventh annual bracket contest sponsored by Outback Steakhouse, only Adam Jackman correctly predicted that Villanova would win it all. Unfortunately for Adam, his picks in the Sweet Sixteen and the Elite Eight kept him from claiming the overall title in this year’s contest as he came up 40 points short of the top spot by finishing with 1100 points.
Congratulations to Juan Poon (left) for winning this year’s title and along with it the coveted $20 gift certificate from Outback. Juan was the only person in the contest to correctly have picked both teams in the championship game and his early success helped to overcome the fact that his beloved Tarheels did not captured the trophy as he had predicted. He finished with 1140 points.
Michael MacEachern, who was at or near the top in every round, finished third with 1040 points, while Hannah Miller was also consistent and finished fourth with 980 points. Trevor Gaffney, who made a late run, rounded out the top five finishers with 970 points.
In addition to everyone in the top five and the previous winners from the first weekend of action, eight other people also scored a free Bloomin’ Onion from my friends at Outback and I’ll be mailing those out to the lucky recipients. In the media division, Joe Rinehart of WNZR (820 points) just edged out Amanda Rykoff (800 points) of the Houston Astros and former 10TV weatherman Josh Poland (800 points). Meanwhile, Holly Zachariah and Rob Oller of the Columbus Dispatch ended up deadlocked in the battle for workplace bragging rights. Defending champion R.J. Bergman finished in 47th place in a rebuilding year as he made an early exit just like his favorite team, Duke. And finally, after thoroughly beating her husband and former contest winnter, Patrick Neville a year ago with Northeastern (NE) and Villanova (VILL) in the finals a year ago, Noelle Neville finished dead last. If she would have only picked Villanova this year. 🙂
Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s contest and thanks as always to Outback Steakhouse for being such a great sponsor. They donated the $20 grand prize and 20 Bloomin’ Onion cards. Make sure to visit them when possible and send them a tweet to say thanks! Hope to see you all again next year when we all go in search of our One Shining Moment!