Luck, lack of upsets helps students capture NCAA bracket victory

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April 6, 2007

3:36 PM

After the final buzzer sounded in Monday night’s NCAA basketball championship, thousands of self-proclaimed bracketologists eagerly watching the game across the nation had one more thing to do – figure out their final standings for online pools sponsored by Facebook, ESPN, Yahoo and other companies.

p. For those who did not even pick the University of Florida or Ohio State University to make the final, the game’s outcome meant nothing.

p. But for others, such as sophomore Ben Heller, who had the highest-ranked bracket in the College’s Facebook network going into the championship game, Florida’s nine-point win solidified his reign atop the College leader board come Tuesday morning.

p. “It’s definitely a pretty cool feeling,” Heller said. “I didn’t get any money from Facebook, but I did get a lot of bragging rights.”

p. Heller finished with a global Facebook ranking of 2,154 and 163 points, just fourteen points lower than the global leader who took home $25,000 for winning the competition.

p. While following enough college basketball to know who the top teams were this year, Heller does not profess to being an expert when he made his bracket predictions.

p. “I think this is a once in a blue moon thing. I’ll do well again, but not this well,” he said.

p. Close behind Heller in the standings was freshman Emily Law. Law, who finished as the top-ranked female in the College’s Facebook network in fourth place overall, was surprised she did so well.

p. “I was like, ‘Are you kidding?’” she said.

p. Along with Heller, Law admitted to having no real strategy when filling out her bracket this March. She said her family organizes tournament pools every year and her dad frequently watches college basketball, but other than that, her knowledge of the game is limited.

p. “This was definitely a luck victory,” she said. “Some of it was hearsay and what I heard from people, some of it was the higher seeds winning more, but most of it was luck.”

p. Ranked 3,822 in the global Facebook standings, Law racked up a total of 161 points in the competition. Not only did she finish strongly among her peers, she also took home top prize in her family’s NCAA pool.

p. Twenty-five members of Law’s family all bet five dollars before the tournament started, meaning Florida’s victory put a cool $75 in her pocket.

p. “My sister, my cousin, who’s a freshman in high school, and me were the only ones who picked the whole Final Four in our family. It was obviously not the guys who knew exactly what they were doing,” she said. “I’m going home for Easter, so it should be fun to pull that out.”

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