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Braunecker leads Bears' NCAA pool

Heading into the Sweet 16 in the NCAA basketball tournament, tight end Ben Braunecker leads a pool of 16 current Bears players with 54 points.

Bears players filled out their NCAA Basketball Tournament brackets for bragging rights on

After correctly picking 28 of 32 first-round games—including wins by No. 11 seeds Rhode Island, USC and Xavier—Braunecker had 13 of the teams that advanced to the Sweet 16.

The bad news for Braunecker, however, is that he picked Duke to win the championship and the Blue Devils were ousted by South Carolina in the Round of 32.

Tackle Charles Leno Jr., tight end Dion Sims, outside linebacker Lamarr Houston and cornerback Sherrick McManis all are tied for second with 45 points apiece. But McManis has virtually no chance because he predicted that his alma mater, Northwestern, would win the title and the Wildcats were knocked out by Gonzaga in the Round of 32.

Leno, Sims and Houston all have North Carolina cutting down the nets, but all three also have already lost their second championship-game participant. In fact, none of the 16 players in the pool has both of their title contest teams still alive.

Running back Jordan Howard and punter Patrick O'Donnell are tied for sixth with 44 points each, followed by quarterback Connor Shaw (43), defensive lineman Mitch Unrein (43), center Cody Whitehair (42), quarterback Mike Glennon (42), kicker Connor Barth (41), tight end Daniel Brown (41), cornerback Marcus Cooper (40), long-snapper Patrick Scales (38) and outside linebacker Roy Robertson-Harris (36).

The Sweet 16 kicks off Thursday night with four games followed by four more Friday evening.

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