Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Our Bracket Fiasco champ took the Blue Devils but spurned the Big Blue

Our Fiasco champ. (Photo courtesy of Mark Sandefur)

The winner of the 28th installment of Bradley's Bracket Fiasco wasn't aware he was on the road to glory, not to mention a $50 iTunes gift card and the traditional Final Four sweatshirt/hoodie. Mark Sandefur of Powder Springs entered mostly as a lever to get his 10-year-old son to fill out a bracket, and it wasn't until late in the NCAA tournament that Sanderfur realized his own picks had been prescient.

Sandefur tabbed seven of the eight regional finalists (the exception being Virginia), three of the Final Four, both of the championship game participants and Duke to win it all. He finished among 4,027 entrants.

"I was following Kirby's bracket more than I was following mine," said Sandefur, who's 43.

Sandefur had entered previous incarnations, but not recently. "Many years ago I did," he said. "Once I had kids, I got too busy. I remember the year (1999) that Mike Mills (bassist/keyboardist/vocalist for R.E.M.) won. I thought that was kind of cool."

Originally from Thomaston, Sandefur graduated from Georgia in 1995 and settled in West Cobb. He works in technology sales. He also coaches a travel baseball team, which is no small thing in Cobb County.

Back to Kirby Sandefur: His fifth-grade basketball team employs an offense similar to Wisconsin's, which was one reason his dad picked the Badgers to upset Kentucky in the Final Four.

"I didn't see any way Kentucky would handle the pressure and go undefeated," Sandefur said. "I watched the Notre Dame game (in the Midwest Regional final); I'd picked Kentucky to win (the regional), but I wound up rooting for Notre Dame. When Kentucky won, I thought it was kind of over -- that was their test and they'd passed it."

But no. The Wildcats were beaten by Wisconsin, which was itself undone by Duke. The score of the title game was 68-63. Sandefur picked the Blue Devils to win 68-67. "I have a ton of respective for (Mike) Krzyzewski," he said. "He's the best coach out there."

Of our 4,027 entrants,  28 picked the correct Final Four. Eighty-four had Duke playing Wisconsin for the title, with 210 picking Duke to win it all. For the record, the creator of the Fiasco (i.e., me) had the Devils losing to Iowa State in the round of 16. Also for the record, Iowa State was eliminated two hours into the first full day of the tournament.

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Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.