Upset! A sports writer (though not this one) wins the Fiasco!

These guys messed up everybody's brackets again, our winner's included. (AP photo)

These guys messed up everybody's brackets again, our winner's included. (AP photo)

The 24th annual installment of Bradley’s Bracket Fiasco proved, to put it kindly, the most challenging yet. Our champion is Chris Lewis, a sometime writer from Garfield, Ga., who triumphed over 5,763 other entrants despite having filled out a bracket so pockmarked he gave up on it.

“I hadn’t even revisited [the Fiasco site] to see how I was doing,” Lewis said Monday. “I figured my bracket was shot. Thank goodness for upsets.”

Lewis won despite picking only half the correct Final Four. (He had Connecticut and Kentucky.) He won on a tiebreaker, having gotten 25 of the 32 first-round games correct. Far from being a bad bracket, his was sagacious enough to earn Lewis the coveted winner’s Final Four sweatshirt/hoodie and a 32GB iPad with 3G and WiFi capability.

Did Lewis already have an iPad? “No, sir, I don’t,” he said. “This is unbelievable. I’ve never won anything in my life.”

Lewis, 42, lives on a street named for his mother in Garfield. He’s a right-of-way agent for Georgia Power, and he’s also a correspondent for the Forest-Blade, a weekly published in Swainsboro. (You can follow him on Twitter. He’s @ChrisLewis25.) He covers Emanuel County Institute football for the Blade, which means he covered Georgia tailback Washaun Ealey when he was in high school.

“It’s a hobby of mine,” Lewis said. “My son plays football there now, and I’ve been close to the coaches, doing stats. The Blade asked me if I’d consider writing something. I’ve done it for six or seven years now.”

Our winner. (Photo courtesy of Chris Lewis)

Our winner. (Photo courtesy of Chris Lewis)

As for the rest of the NCAA tournament, Lewis sees UConn winning it all: “Because they’re hot — they’ve rolled through this tournament and their conference tournament. And they might have the best player in [Kemba] Walker.”

Our runner-up is Jennifer Hall of Norcross. She’s a Tennessee grad who works for a health-care technology firm in Dunwoody. She missed tying for the title by the barest of margins — one Round 1 game. “I follow the SEC, and I had a good feeling about Kentucky and Florida from watching them in the SEC tournament. And I had a good feeling about UConn.”

Question: As she watched NCAA games, did Hall root for underdogs or for her bracket? “It’s definitely mixed emotions. You pull for Butler and VCU, and then you think, ‘What will this do to me?’ This was definitely a tough tournament.”

Tell me about it. I picked none of the Final Four. (That last happened in 2006.) I finished 5,538th in a contest I founded. I’d like to say I’m mortified, but I’m not really. In the words of our champ: Thank goodness for upsets. Because they’re what make these three weeks so much fun.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Cynthia Daniels-Dubose, Emily Merwin, Carolyn Warmbold and Drue Miller of the ol’ AJC for again making the brackets run on time. I’ve got the easy part: I just make lousy picks and congratulate the happy winner. They do the real work.

And I would be likewise remiss if I didn’t thank all those who entered. Fair warning: Next year marks our 25th anniversary, and we might  have to do something special to mark the occasion. A sterling silver winner’s hoodie, perhaps?

By Mark Bradley

41 comments Add your comment

Coach D

March 28th, 2011
3:20 pm

3rd? Go VCU…

C Rich

March 28th, 2011
3:22 pm

Mark Bradley

March 28th, 2011
3:22 pm

First, Coach D. Kudos.

Michael

March 28th, 2011
3:23 pm

Ugh. Easily my worst prognostication effort ever. Let’s just get this debacle of a tournament over with and forget it ever happened, ok?

Coach D

March 28th, 2011
3:23 pm

1st actually!!!! The Butler did it, too. Parity in the NCAA, also!!!
5,538th, Mark? Are you serious? Next year should be better for you. Can’t be any worse, hahaha!

Mark Bradley

March 28th, 2011
3:24 pm

I am woefully serious.

UGASlobberknocker

March 28th, 2011
3:28 pm

ESPN reports that of 5.9 million entries in its Final 4 contest, exactly two people got all 4 teams. They speculated that those two used a dartboard to pick it.

Legend of Len Barker

March 28th, 2011
3:33 pm

My bracket had its own theme song this year: Another One Bites the Dust.

SC Ace

March 28th, 2011
3:35 pm

I bet I was 5,539th.

Steve Dooley

March 28th, 2011
3:38 pm

I know this guy personally and he is a whiz kid and accomplished sports writer.

jokurone

March 28th, 2011
3:38 pm

the Blue grass always rises to the top GO Cats!

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

March 28th, 2011
3:46 pm

I was worse than Mark i am pretty sure .

1998

March 28th, 2011
3:52 pm

Kentucky can win two in a row.

Michael G.

March 28th, 2011
4:11 pm

At the end of the first weekend, my bracket looked an awful lot like a crumpled up piece of paper at the bottom of a wastebasket!

Gordon

March 28th, 2011
4:15 pm

I came in 4th, only 4 points behind. So close.

Tucker T

March 28th, 2011
4:17 pm

I was in 20th place last Friday and then it all went to hell. I really thought I had a chance this year. Damned VCU!!!

Dink

March 28th, 2011
4:24 pm

Congrats Mr. Lewis, well done. 2 of the Final Four and 25 outta 32 in the first round is not too bad at all.

Mark, what team was that who showed up yesterday wearing the KU uniforms?

Pops

March 28th, 2011
4:25 pm

So the games saturday don’t mean anything? This guy already won no matter what happens?

GT Dude

March 28th, 2011
4:25 pm

Funny thing is that there were so many upsets that you were able to pick a winner even before the final four games are played

StingerSplash

March 28th, 2011
5:00 pm

Drue’s good people, MB. You need to give her a double shoutout.

The Original WDE

March 28th, 2011
5:13 pm

I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!

Just so basketball will be dead and gone for 7-8 months.

dawg4u

March 28th, 2011
5:38 pm

I can’t even get ground hog day right the last six years much less the NCAA brackets. Wait’ll next year! I know you’ll be pulling for Kentucky right, Mark.

Thomas Pynchon

March 28th, 2011
6:00 pm

Congrats. to a fellow writer.

Patrick Romano WAR DAMN EAGLE

March 28th, 2011
6:26 pm

Hey, Original WDE, my ASS…You’re a hack and if you have to announce you ARE the Original WDE, You more than likely are not..

WAR DAMN EAGLE, Been golfing down in Florida and up in the Mountains is the only reason I haven’t been adding to this wacky Sweet 16…

Delbert D.

March 28th, 2011
6:26 pm

I was in the top 200 after the first round, and going into the Sweet Sixteen, I had 3 Final Four candidates left. Pretty much a wipeout on the right hand side afterwards. I haven’t even bothered to check my results.

Sonny Clusters

March 28th, 2011
6:29 pm

We was unable to participate because Clusters see into the future and picking a winner is not that hard for us. We want to congratulate a fellow writer, too. We was writing before we was 2nd shift.

JSS

March 28th, 2011
6:30 pm

Tell Chris Lewis to stay off Gumlog Road and away from the Maryland Fried Chicken! Congrads, they’ll be shutting down the Town Square at US 80 and Main Street for the presentation!

Sonny Clusters

March 28th, 2011
6:32 pm

Mr. Lewis, insist on a new hoodie. We was told some of the prize hoodies are seconds and some was worn previously. Also, make sure that iPad comes with batteries.

Delbert D.

March 28th, 2011
6:32 pm

Argh!!! 112 points, ranked 1,500 and something.

Delbert D.

March 28th, 2011
6:34 pm

One of our mathematicians should do some kind of analysis to see what random guessing could produce. Monte Carlo analysis, I think?

SAL

March 28th, 2011
7:21 pm

I think the “birther” movement has something to do with it!!!!!

[...] View original post here: Upset! A sports writer (though not this one) wins the Fiasco … [...]

Go Falcons!

March 28th, 2011
7:26 pm

The contest ends with selection of the final 4.

1294 for me. 77th percentile. And I know nothing about college BB.

Where did Obama end up?

as

March 28th, 2011
7:38 pm

you mean there are others besides the acc that play basketball

Old Slugger

March 28th, 2011
7:41 pm

If it matters I picked three of the final four–conn, VCU nd Butler–I’m going with Butler. The pool master cn send it now.

old devil

March 28th, 2011
7:46 pm

As usual, my bracket was busted in the second round. But next year, yeah, that’s it, just wait til next year…….

JSS

March 28th, 2011
7:53 pm

Go Falcons!
March 28th, 2011
7:26 pm
“Where did Obama end up?”

For the person who asked…
President Obama had 94.9% right and was ranked 305,647 out of the 6 million who played the Tourney Challenge on the Evil 4 letter…

He had nearly 3 perfect regions through the Round of 32..

Go Falcons!

March 28th, 2011
8:12 pm

The Prez was listed in Bradley’s contest. Mark?

Dr. Phil

March 28th, 2011
8:38 pm

I have not been a fan of Coach Cal, but he has proven his ability as a coach. These guys are playing as a team–something that was missing last year.

TURD FERGUSON

March 28th, 2011
8:45 pm

GO BIG BLUE!!!

ylojkt

March 28th, 2011
11:15 pm

671st here, not too shabby, but no ipad. Was in great shape for the final four, but picked all the wrong teams.