And the Winner is…

17797265_938873294880_1306374471_oMy eighth annual March Madness bracket contest sponsored by Outback Steakhouse came down to the wire with 14 of the 51 entrants having either North Carolina or Gonzaga as their pick to win the title.

With the North Carolina’s 71-65 victory over Gonzaga, Nate Okuley (left) became the eighth different winner as he jumped from seventh place in the standings to the top spot with 1190 points to grab the coveted $20 voucher from Outback and bragging rights for the next year.

Eight other people correctly picked North Carolina to claim the title after losing on a buzzer beater a year ago.  Ryan Workman was the runner up with 1130 points, Rick Burke came in third with 1120 points, Hannah Miller was fourth with 1100 points, and defending champion Juan Poon was fifth with 1090 points.

Recapping the Sweet Sixteen, Noelle Neville, Josh Wood and IHeartTroyCurrent each led the way with by picking five of the eight winners correctly.  Then, in the Elite Eight, Michael MacEachern who correctly picked Gonzaga, North Carolina and Oregon to advance to the Final Four, jumped all the way to third place in the competition trailing just Phil Hurlbert and Laurinaitis, but Michael was in good shape because both of those two had no possible points remaining as all of their picks had been eliminated.  After the semifinals, Michael, Noelle and Josh were all tied for first place with 960 points as they each had Gonzaga picked as their champion.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s contest.  I have 20 free Bloomin’ Onion certificates that I will be mailing out to folks who won one of the rounds and also to everyone who finished in the top five in the final standings.  Thanks especially to Outback for once again sponsoring this contest and donating all of the prizes.  Make sure to visit them and also send them a tweet to thank them.



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