Lake Zurich 6th grader with near-perfect NCAA bracket could win big

Tanja Babich Image
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Lake Zurich 6th grader has near-perfect NCAA bracket
How long does it take to fill out a winning NCAA bracket Sam Holtz, 12, took only five minutes to fill out his.

LAKE ZURICH, Ill. (WLS) -- How long does it take to fill out a winning NCAA bracket? Sam Holtz, a sixth grader from north suburban Lake Zurich, took only five minutes to fill out his.

"I just rushed right through it. I think it was kind of all skill. Some people say it's luck, but I think I studied enough," Sam said.

Sam, 12, and a group of friends watched eagerly for the outcome of Monday night's Duke-Wisconsin game, knowing a Blue Devils' win would catapult him to a tie for first place among 11.57 million entries in's bracket challenge.

Sam filled out ten brackets this year. His winning bracket was the fourth.

When Duke brought it home with a 68-63 win over the Badgers, pandemonium broke loose.

"I didn't even think I'd get in the top 100,000 when I first made a bracket. I just make 'em for fun. I didn't think I'd make it this far, so it's incredible," Sam said.

"I didn't even pay attention. I was teasing him today, telling him, 'Will you stop printing those brackets? You're wasting all my ink out of the printer.' He's like, 'Oh, yeah. I know what I'm doing. Leave me alone.' I guess he proved me wrong," said Butch Holtz, Sam's father.

Sam had some help from his brother and a friend.

The contest is for people age 18 and older, so Sam can't win, according to ESPN. The company did offer him a swag bag though, Sam said.

Sam entered with his dad's consent and his dad's email address, but used his own name. This is the third year Sam has filled out a bracket.

PHOTOS: Duke, Wisconsin play for national title