NCAA bracket expert 'Jersey Guy' never doubted UCLA's credentials

NCAA bracket expert 'Jersey Guy' never doubted UCLA's credentials
UCLA Coach Steve Alford speaks to his players during a Pac-12 tournament semifinal loss to Arizona on Friday. (John Locher / Associated Press)

People still shocked that UCLA made the NCAA Tournament obviously were not following a retired bracket "expert" from New Jersey working for free out of his living room in Scituate, Mass.

Mark Blaudschun, a former Boston Globe college sports columnist who now runs the website "," was telling anyone who would listen that UCLA was safely in the field.

This ran counter to all other projections from bracket pickers. Joe Lunardi, who dominates ESPN's crawl this time of year with his up-to-the-minute updates, had Indiana and UCLA out of the 68-field.


Jerry Palm, the respected bracket picker for CBS Sports, also had UCLA out. It was his only miss. He had Colorado State instead of UCLA.

"Jersey Guy" had Indiana and UCLA in. In the end, both the Hoosiers and Bruins cruised home comfortably. Indiana entered as a No. 10 and was rated No. 37 on the tournament committee's seeding list of 68 teams.

UCLA, it turns out, wasn't even on the bubble. The Bruins ended up No. 42 on the seeding curve.

Blaudschun does brackets for fun, in part to prove that it really isn't that difficult.

"I think Joe Lunardi does a great job, he's got everything down," Blaudschun said by phone on Monday. "But it's not rocket science."

Blaudschun said anyone with access to conference standings should be able to pick about 65 of the 68 teams.

"Then," Blaudschun said, "it becomes tough."

Blaudschun said UCLA was an easy call.

"I ran the numbers, it wasn't close," Blaudschun said. "UCLA and Indiana were far above the cut opposed to Temple, Boise, Colorado State; that's why I was confident."

Blaudshun said what put UCLA over the top was being ranked No. 41 in the respected KenPom ratings, as opposed to 68 for Colorado State.

Blaudschun ended up correctly picking 67 of the 68 teams. His only miss was putting Temple in the play-in game instead of Boise.

"I'm kicking myself," Blaudschun said. "I thought I nailed it, 68 of 68."

Maybe next year.