KILJ Bracket Challenge Standings After Sweet 16 and Elite 8

KILJ Bracket Challenge- Only four teams remain in the 2024 men’s basketball National Championship bracket after starting the month of madness with 68. With that being said, the KILJ Bracket Challenge shares a Cinderella story as the standings have experienced quite a shakeup.

Before we dive into our specific standings, what happened this weekend? Two #1 seeds fell in the Sweet 16 as Alabama, trailing by one with less than a minute to go in the game, nailed a key and-one stunned North Carolina. Then Houston’s Jamal Shead left the game early against Duke and the Cougars’ offense struggled, falling 54-51 to the Blue Devils.

The trail to turn elite saw two other upsets as #11 NC State handled #2 Marquette 67-58 and #6 Clemson downed #2 Arizona 77-72. Additionally, Iowa State’s poor first half defense saw #3 Illinois punch their ticket to the Elite Eight.

Quick reminder: the KILJ Bracket Challenge handled the first two rounds with ease, guessing 65% of the games correct in round one and an astronomical 70% of games correct in round two. Allie Liechty-Hultman pulled off a nearly perfect second round going 15 of 16.

The Sweet 16 was not so kind as the average of correct games picked was a mere 2.7 out of 8 or 34.2%.

How about the Elite 8? UConn swiped Illinois in convincing fashion, 77-52, and Alabama outlasted Clemson, 89-82, to set up the Final Four matchup of Huskies versus the Crimson Tide. Overall, not surprising.

On the other side of the bracket, Zach Edey is playing basketball on a different plane than anyone else as the 7’4 center scored 40 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the 72-66 victory over #2 Tennessee.

To quote Jim Valvano, the last head coach to led NC State to a national championship in 1983,

“Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”

The Wolfpack are in the Final Four for the first time since 1983 and tied for the lowest seed to have ever advanced to the Final Four. If they beat Purdue, then they would be the lowest seed to have ever advanced to the National Championship game.

NC State was a Cinderella story in 1983 as the #6-seed, back in a pool of 48 teams, managed to survive and advance a gauntlet of games that included a double overtime finish and four of five games decided by two points or less.

The reason I mention all of this is because we have a Cinderella story in our very own KILJ Bracket Challenge. Julie Leichty was in 25th place after the first two rounds with 82 points. She tied Rick Bunnell for guessing the most correct games in the Sweet 16 with five.

Then she guessed all four games correct in the Elite Eight, the only one of all 34 brackets to perform the feat. Julie Leichty is now in first place with a 20-point lead. Rick Bunnell went from 12th place to 2nd place due to a strong Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.

The Bunnell trio performed quite well as Lysha and Ellyanna are in third and fourth place, respectively, with 162 and 158 points.

The bracket that struggled the most experienced a drop of 19 places after losing their Final Four in the Sweet 16. Five brackets did not guess a game right in the Elite Eight as the field of 34 guessed only 33.8% of the games correctly.

The saving grace for most of the brackets was eight UConn or Purdue as the Huskies were in 91% of people’s Final Four and Purdue was in 56% of Final Fours.

Additionally, UConn was picked as the champion for 16 brackets and Purdue was picked in five brackets. Eight brackets picked UConn and Purdue to face off against one another in the championship game.

Important to note no one picked NC State or Alabama to be in the championship game. So, we wait until Saturday, April 6th, to see who will advance to play for the coveted National Championship.


Julie Liecthy: 186 points (Picked Purdue as the champion)

Rick Bunnell: 166 points (Picked UConn as the champion)

Lysha Bunnell: 162 points (Picked UConn as the champion)

Ellyanna Bunnell: 162 points (Picked UConn as the champion)

Sharon Menke: 150 points (Picked UConn as the champion)

Brent Broeker: 150 points (Cannot score anymore)

Allie Liecthy-Hultman: 148 points (Picked UConn as the champion)

Alan Buckert: 148 points (Picked UConn as the champion)

Jeff Broeg: 146 points (Picked UConn as the champion)

Linda Erikson: 144 points (Has Purdue making it to the championship game)