Bracket Envy: Two People In’s Tournament Challenge Correctly Predicted The Final Four

  • Brad Cohen

Almost 6 million people competed for $10,000 in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge. Two correctly predicted the Final Four. One of them, unsurprisingly, is in first place. The other?

Picking each of the remaining four teams earned vinquach 3 6,343rd place with no chance to win the top prize.

With this years tournament being as wild as it’s been (a No. 8 seed and No. 11 team in the Final Four, but no No. 1 seed) it’s pretty impressive that anybody correctly predicted the four remaining teams. But did the two who made the right picks actually believe teams like VCU and Butler would make it this far (190 other people had the Rams and Bulldogs meeting in the semifinals)? Or were they just having fun?

Well, looking at vinquach’s bracket, it looks a coin flip or throwing darts at wall full of team names might have been the method for choosing. Vinquach chose 18 upsets to 14 favorites in the first round, with teams like No. 14 St. Peters over No. 3 Purdue, No. 16 UNC-Asheville over No. 1 Pitt and No. 15 Akron over No. 2 Notre Dame. With 15 of 32 first-round games incorrect, it makes sense vinquach no longer has a chance to win.

Here’s what vinquach’s messy, messy bracket looks like (click to enlarge):

The challenge’s top spot belongs to jspearlman 1, whose bracket seems to be a lot more balanced. Jspearlman only had four incorrect games in the first round, three of which were because of picking the favorite when the underdog won. The 11 correctly predicted Sweet 16 teams and six Elite Eight teams also helped the bracket.

Here’s what Jspearlman’s nation-leading bracket looks like (click to enlarge):

But as the amount of points per game double in each round, jspearlman will need VCU to win the championship in order to win the Tournament Challenge—something Las Vegas doesn’t like the odds of. Then again, VCU has been proving its doubters wrong for the entire tournament. What’s two more games?