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Daniel Wilco | | March 20, 2018

The best brackets left after a wild first weekend

These are the best dunks of the opening rounds

Three brackets out of the millions entered in the Capital One Bracket Challenge Game weathered that incredible opening weekend and predicted 14 of the Sweet 16 teams correctly.

No bracket in BCG picked all 16 correctly, and none even managed 15 of 16 (among the other major bracket games, we could only find one in the top leaderboards that picked 15/16).

Still, of the three wizards that managed to only miss two games in the entire Sweet 16, none got the South regional perfect, which is quite understandable. That regional is the first ever to have no 1, 2, 3, or 4 seed in its four Sweet 16 representatives. Only 405 BCG users went 4-for-4 in the South.

See the Bracket Challenge Game Leaderboard

Of the three that went 14-for-16, none correctly picked UMBC’s historic upset (only 2.18 percent of all brackets managed to get that one right), but each one did have faith in Loyola Chicago’s miracle run to the Sweet 16. 

Sister Jean inspires Ramblers to Sweet Sixteen

The most impressive of the three so far is “Hoops, I got this!” which is in sole possession of first place in our Bracket Challenge Game. Here's a look at the bracket:

The two picks that bracket missed were both 7-2 upsets. The first was Nevada’s thrilling comeback over Cincinnati (the Wolf Pack were picked in 8.6 percent of all BCG brackets), and the other was Texas A&M’s blowout of UNC (Texas A&M was picked over UNC in just 4.2 percent of all brackets).

Nevada wins after 22-point comeback

Another bracket, "BradUnderwood" only missed two picks (Kansas State over UMBC, and FSU over Xavier), and sits in 103rd place overall.

But of the three brackets that managed 14-of-16 picks correctly, “Reid Coin Flip” is the only one with all Final Four teams still alive. That bracket picked 5-seed Kentucky, 4-seed Gonzaga, 1-seed Villanova, and 1-seed Kansas. The bracket is currently ranked No. 12 overall.

So, do these three have a good shot at winning the Bracket Challenge Game?

In the past seven years, only one BCG winner has managed to correctly pick more than 13 Sweet 16 teams. But the past four champions have all picked the Final Four and championship game perfectly. If that trend stays true, two of the best Sweet 16 predictors this year won’t have a shot at the title. But, as UMBC showed Friday, there’s a first time for everything.

College basketball rankings: Even unranked teams find success in the NCAA tournament

Since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985 — its modern format — only four of 35 national champions were unranked to start the season. That’s about one in every nine years.

Only .025 percent predicted the 2021 Final Four teams in the Bracket Challenge Game

UCLA's upset of No. 1 Michigan in the Elite Eight turned what could have been a record-high number of perfect picks into a tiny number that went 4-for-4.

A huge majority of NCAA brackets have a No. 1 seed winning the 2021 championship

Here is how many brackets predicted each seed to win the national championship, from Gonzaga and the No. 1 seeds through Drexel and the rest of the No. 16 seeds.
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