Well, the first week of the annual NCAA March Madness tournament is behind us and for the eighth straight year the kind folks at Outback Steakhouse agreed to sponsor my annual bracket contest. So, last week, 50 of my friends and I logged our brackets in on ESPN.com’s site and waited for the action to unfold.
Early on, Cindy Warner took the lead as she was the last person in the group to have a perfect bracket with 10 straight correct picks. Then, she missed two of the final six games to stand in second place after day one with a stellar 14-of-16 correct.
Meanwhile, Rodney Yoder, Chris Runion and Trevor Gaffney each finished the first day only missing one game to take the lead with 150 points. All three of them along with Cindy will receive one of the 20 free Bloomin’ Onion cards that Outback so graciously donated to the contest.
On day two, Justin Ross correctly picked 15 of the 16 games to jump into a tie for first place with Trevor and Rodney as they each finished the round of 64 with 28 of 32 games picked correctly for 280 points. Greg Sergio was also tied for first place as he was consistent going 14-for-16 on both of the first two days. Justin and Greg also earned a free Bloomin’ Onion for their efforts.
The round of 32 was were the field started to separate thanks in large part to losses by defending champion Villanova and no. 2 seeds Duke and Louisville as 20 of the 51 entrants in my contest lost their predicted national champion, myself included.
Brad Graley avoided the upset carnage, though as he correctly picked 14 of the 16 winners in the round to move into a first place tie with Trevor and Noelle Neville as the three of them each currently have 520 points. And all three of them have a different predicted national champion. Brad and Noelle will each receive a free Bloomin’ Onion as will Alex Connell, who is next on the leaderboard with 510 points although his bracket was busted with the loss of Duke.
The action heats up again tonight and the overall prize of the $20 voucher to Outback and the bragging rights that go with it are still up for grabs. Good luck!