Sports

Morning Briefing: One perfect NCAA bracket left among the millions

The second weekend of the NCAA tournament starts Thursday, and after 48 games over four days only one person’s, out of the millions who have filled out their March Madness brackets, remains perfect, according to NCAA.com.

The website has tracked tens of millions of online brackets — including their own, and those of ESPN, Yahoo, Fox and Sports Illustrated — in the last four years. For the first time in that stretch, someone has made it to the Sweet 16 with an unblemished bracket.

That’s really tough to do. As a point of reference, NCAA.com reports that the odds of correctly predicting 48 straight coin tosses are about one in 281.5 trillion.

But Gregg Nigl, a 40-year-old neuropsychologist who lives in Columbus, Ohio, pulled it off with a bracket he called Center Road,which was submitted through NCAA.com just before the first game last week.

“I almost went back to bed and didn’t fill it out, but I did it anyway because I felt bad because it was my friend’s [group],” he told NCAA.com.

Going into Sunday’s games, another bracket, Court Stormers on Yahoo, had also gotten each of the first 40 games of the tournament correct.

The only difference between the two perfect brackets’ predictions for the day was the outcome of the Texas Tech-Buffalo game. Once Texas Tech pulled away for a 78-58 win, Center Road was alone at the top.

Nigl said he bases his picks on such factors as experts’ opinions, rankings and, sometimes, which teams he likes better. “A bunch of this is luck. I know that,” he said. “I’m not going to say I knew every matchup by any means.”

His bracket has Duke, Michigan State, Gonzaga, Michigan, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky (all top two seeds) moving on to the Elite Eight; then Duke, Gonzaga, Virginia and Kentucky (all No. 1 seeds, except for Kentucky) advancing to the Final Four; and Gonzaga beating Kentucky for the title.

Of course, the odds of all that happening to give Nigl one shining moment of his own are something like one in 9.2 quintillion. So good luck with that.

Johnny’s unhappy

Memphis Express fans can’t get enough of Johnny Manziel. But the former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback seems to have had enough of that.

Manziel was signed by the Express on March 16 and made his Alliance of American Football debut Sunday night. He played three series during the game against the Birmingham Iron, but Brandon Silvers started and finished at quarterback for Memphis and was the real hero for the team. He completed 24 of 35 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-25 Express victory.

Nonetheless, it was Manziel whom the fans came to see, and they made sure their preference was known throughout the game. They chanted his name, got whipped into a frenzy whenever he’d make a play and booed mercilessly when Silvers reentered the game, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Manziel wasn’t happy about the way Silvers was treated.

“I don’t go out and round people up and say, ‘Will you guys go out and chant, “We want Johnny” all day.’” Manziel said. “To put that pressure on him and him have to go out there and deal with that and handle it the way he did was top-notch. I’m kind of sick of that a little bit. Let it play out.”

Silvers was a good sport about the situation.

“It’s not the first time I’ve been booed on the field, but maybe in a home game,” Silvers said. “But you kind of expect that. You kind of got to. Johnny Manziel is a Heisman winner. He’s well-accomplished. If he was on another team, I’d be looking in to watch him play.”