Busted! Perfect bracket goes poof, but UM tickets are a nice consolation

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Gregg Nigl and his son, Kaiden, in Anaheim, Calif., on Thursday night.

Good news, bad news for Gregg Nigl.

Let's start with the good: As owner of the first bracket of record ever to be perfect through the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, he was rewarded with a free trip to Anaheim, Calif., where he got to watch his Michigan Wolverines play Texas Tech in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night.

Nigl, the Saginaw native who now lives in Columbus, Ohio, got to take his young son, Kaiden, thanks to tournament sponsor Buick.

"Thanks to Buick for flying me and my son in to watch the Wolverines’ Sweet 16 run in person!" Nigl said. "One minute we were on vacation, and the next we’re on this crazy perfect bracket ride."

Now, the bad news.

As Nigl and his son were settling in for Thursday's late tip at Honda Center, his bracket had just been busted.

Nigl picked up a win in first Sweet 16 game, when Gonzaga dispatched of Florida State, but then Purdue beat Tennessee, 99-94, in overtime. That was Nigl's first loss of his bracket. He's now 49-for-50.

Tennessee almost pulled it off for him, rallying from 18 down to take the lead late. But a Tennessee foul sent Purdue to the free-throw line for three free throws late in regulation. Two makes sent it to overtime, where Purdue dominated in making its first Elite Eight since 2000.

History will say Nigl, 40, a neuropsychologist who attended Saginaw Nouvel Catholic Central, got within 14 wins of a perfect bracket — believed to be closer than anyone, ever.

For record-keeping sake, here are the rest of Nigl's picks:

Sweet 16

►Michigan over Texas Tech

►Virginia over Oreegon

►Michigan State over LSU

►North Carolina over Auburn

►Duke over Virginia Tech

►Kentucky over Houston

Elite Eight

►Duke over Michigan State

►Gonzaga over Michigan

►Virginia over Tennessee

►Kentucky over North Carolina

Final Four

►Gonzaga over Duke

►Kentucky over Virginia


►Gonzaga over Kentucky, 77-71

Nigl's historic bracket was one of four he filled out for this March Madness. He learned that this one was perfect while on a spring-break trip with his family in the northeast.


Twitter: @tonypaul1984