Your NCAA bracket busted? Now you've got a second chance

ESPN and CBS Sports, which run the most popular bracket contests, are among those giving basketball fans another chance to win.

Terry Collins Staff Reporter, CNET News
Terry writes about social networking giants and legal issues in Silicon Valley for CNET News. He joined CNET News from the Associated Press, where he spent the six years covering major breaking news in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before the AP, Terry worked at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Kansas City Star. Terry's a native of Chicago.
Terry Collins
2 min read

Feeling blue after defending champion Villanova lost and busted your NCAA basketball tourney bracket? There are second chances awaiting.

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Hey, basketball fans are you still stinging after picking Villanova or Duke as the big winner in your bracket?

Well, sports giant ESPN is literally offering another way win a bracket with its Tournament Challenge Second Chance. Now, you can pick who will emerge as a new national champion among the Sweet 16 teams left in NCAA basketball tournament starting Monday.

I'm sure millions are reeling after defending national champion Villanova, was upset by Wisconsin 65-62 on Saturday, sending the basketball world into a tizzy. Just ask ESPN Vice President of Fantasy Sports and Philadelphia native George Leimer, who told me late Friday that he had about 40 brackets in play and that most of them had his hometown team, Villanova, winning it all.

"Look, getting your bracket being busted is something that happens to all of us. It's the nature of the beast," he said -- before Villanova lost. "Think of Second Chance as another way of redeeming yourself."


Even with heavily favored Duke's loss Sunday to South Carolina in the NCAA basketball tournament, fans can still play in the second-chance bracket contests out there.

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Well, I guess I'm in a similar predicament after my pick for national champion, Duke, lost to South Carolina 88-81 late Sunday. Let's just say it was a rough night.

ESPN isn't the only one offering second chances. CBS Sports and Fox Sports are offering similar options. (Editors' note: CNET is owned by CBS.)

These contests come after the NCAA tournament's overall top seed, the aforementioned Villanova, and No. 2 seeds Louisville and Duke couldn't make it past the second round.

While there may be some who might think it isn't fair to create another bracket, just consider this: Nearly 19 million brackets entered ESPN's Tournament Challenge this year, the most popular such contest out there. When the second-round games began Saturday, there were only 164 perfect brackets remaining. That's 0.000008 percent of all brackets.

After Villanova lost the game and fans lost their minds, there were only nine perfect brackets left, ESPN spokesman Kevin Ota said.

And when Xavier upset Florida State late Saturday, there were no perfect brackets left at all.

In case you missed it, I'm challenging Microsoft's Bing Predicts for bracketology supremacy. My bracket was in pretty good shape -- until Duke lost. Did I mention that earlier?

So imagine, after all of that hard work and preparation, your bracket is done, fin, burnt toast. Well, here's your second chance. Last year, 2 million brackets entered ESPN's Second Chance contest. Leimer said that shows the power of basketball around this time of year.

"March Madness is a great part of American pop culture. Everybody knows what it is and when it is," he said. "Whether you're a sports fan or not, everybody fills out a bracket in some way shape or form because we all want a chance at winning."