Duke Win Gives Suburban Sixth-Grader Best Bracket in ESPN Challenge

For one Illinois sixth-grader, Duke’s 68-63 win over Wisconsin in the NCAA men’s basketball championship game Monday was more than just an exciting game.

The Blue Devils’ thrilling win over the Badgers meant 12-year-old Sam Holtz, of Lake Zurich, had moved into first place in the ESPN.com bracket challenge.

Holtz picked all Final Four teams correctly and predicted Duke would beat out Wisconsin in the final match.

Holtz, who entered the contest as user sammyholtz16, ended the challenge with 1,830 points, lifting him to first-place status out of 11.57 million entries. He tied user Grant3326 for the title.

"Like the rest of my family, I thought [Sam] was goofing around when he told me at first, and when I went onESPN's site, I couldn't believe my eyes,” his brother Joe Holtz told the Chicago Tribune.

According to ESPN, the entry with the most points has a chance to win a $20,000 Best Buy gift card and a trip for two to the 2015 Maui invitational. But the site says the prize is only available for legal U.S. citizens who were 18 years or older as of the date of the entry.

Holtz reportedly entered the contest with his father’s email address and his dad’s permission.

The site also says that "the top 1 percent of entrants, based on overall points, will be entered into a random drawing" to win the grand prize Wednesday. "For purposes of determining the top one percent, no tiebreaker will be used." Instead, a “cutoff score” will be used to determine the top 1 percent.

It was not immediately clear if ESPN would allow Holtz to claim the top prize if he won. ESPN did not respond to NBCChicago’s request for comment.

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