A small mistake may cost one basketball fan a very large sum of money.
Corey Johnson, a Connecticut resident, would be in line to win one of the $100,000 prizes in the Yahoo- Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge — if only his choice for the NCAA tournament's winner had been properly saved, he claims.
Johnson, 28, said throughout the tournament he was thrilled to see most of his picks pan out — including having Dayton and Kentucky go far in the tournament.
"I'm thinking to myself, 'This is awesome. This is going to be the biggest thing. I can win $100,000,'" Johnson said in a phone interview. "And then I look, and there's no winner. [But] I picked a winner. I picked UConn to beat Kentucky, and then I submitted it."
But that's not what the bracket said. Instead, no winner was saved.
According to the leader board, Johnson had 48 correct picks for 131 points to put him in fourth place before the title game. Picking the correct champion is worth 32 points, meaning the 16 people below him who pick correctly will leapfrog him for the prize. The top 20 scorers win $100,000 each.
When Johnson realized the problem, he said he immediately went to his mom's office for a hug.
"On the count of three she had everyone turn and say 'Sorry, Corey,'" he said.
He then went over to his brother's house, and the two tried to find a person to call at Yahoo! — but had little success. Not that he thinks it matters.
"What am I going to tell them?" he pointed out. "'This is my bracket. Can I pick a winner?' They're going to be like, 'No, buddy …'"
Instead, he's trying to look on the bright side.
"Someone's going to get it, and they're going to [have needed it] more than me," he sighed.
And next year Johnson won't even bother entering the bracket contest. Not because he's bitter, though.
"I'm going to contact Warren Buffett himself and tell him to give me $100,000 dollars, because I already have this one in the bag," he said.
Yahoo and Quicken Loans did not immediately return requests seeking comment from USA TODAY Sports.