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17 million March Madness brackets submitted. This Virginia teacher could win ESPN's grand prize.

Posted at 2:43 PM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 14:43:22-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- More than 17,000,000 college basketball brackets were submitted to ESPN as part of their Men's Tournament Challenge. Three of the tournament's four number one seeds have lost, so most brackets have been busted.

But not Anna Newbold's bracket.

The 25-year-old Saint Bridget Catholic School teacher has the 9th highest ranked bracket going into Friday night's Sweet 16 games — and a shot at $100,000. We caught up with the James Madison University graduate to see if she would share the secret to her bracket success.

Anna Newbold.jpg
Anna Newbold ranks 9th on ESPN's Men's Tournament Challenge contest. She is leading the Saint Bridget Catholic School faculty pool.

CBS 6: Do you fill out a bracket every year?

Anna Newbold: Yep! This is the only year I’ve ever made more than one, though. I’ve been watching March Madness ever since I started playing basketball around eight or nine years old.

Ah, more than one bracket, eh? Is that the secret to your success?

Could be! I only made three and changed just a couple of things from my first bracket. My real secret was knocking out as many SEC teams as I could in a reasonable manner!

I also know from these past couple of seasons that Gonzaga is an easy pick to choke!

Ouch. Why no love for the SEC?

No real reason. I went to JMU so it’s not a rivalry thing.

Usually, big names and big schools are not who I want to see go far.

It makes it boring!

Smaller schools going far makes it awesome! I wish I made that St Pete’s pick!

That would have been amazing. Is there a school you grew up rooting for in the tournament?

Oh yes, 100%. DUKE! That was my team (and still is today) but in the past couple of years, I have been rooting more for good games rather than Duke to go win it all! Like when Lehigh beat them all those years ago, it was crappy for a Duke fan but seeing the underdogs put up a fight and win, that is why I love March Madness.

If you’ve seen my bracket, you already know I have Duke losing [Saturday], despite my love for Coach K!

Anna Newbold bracket.jpg

Ugh, Duke.

Moving on.

So you're in 9th place in the ESPN bracket. Have you looked ahead to see if you have any chance of moving into first place?

Yup! I think there are only three people left (including myself) who picked Villanova to win it all.

Between me and those guys, we all have similar brackets.

But if UNC wins (😫) I think that would boost me up.

Your school (Saint Bridget) told us you're leading the faculty/8th-grade bracket challenge by a long shot. So you have that going for you, which is nice.

Yup! And I get the grand prize of a large pizza! Which, I will be sharing with the 8th grader who does the best!

If you win the ESPN bracket, you'll have enough money to buy pizza for the entire school.

True that!

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