On ESPN, mentalist predicts Final Four winner 3 weeks in advance
Oz Pearlman may have had the world's best March Madness bracket.
For those of us who stayed up late last night to watch the college basketball championship (or if we saw any of the headlines this morning), we're aware that Villanova crushed Michigan 79-62. But Oz Pearlman already knew that ... three weeks ago.
The 35-year-old Israel-born mentalist walked into the ESPN studios in early March and sealed his prediction in an envelope. That envelope was then put into a briefcase and locked up at ESPN until Monday morning when Pearlman returned.
But having the world's most perfect March Madness bracket was not enough. Pearlman wanted to add some icing onto the cake. So he asked host Jalen Rose to think of any basketball player he wanted. Which he did. And then they opened the suitcase, cut open the envelope and read Pearlman's entire prediction. It read as follows.
"Huge upset. Virginia will not make the Sweet Sixteen. Final Four: Villanova vs. Kansas and Michigan vs. Loyola. Championship: Sadly for me as a Wolverine, Villanova will beat Michigan – not even close. Jalen Rose will thank Draymond Green."
Thirty minutes before his appearance, Pearlman posted this photo to his Instagram account:
Not surprisingly, the hosts were dumbstruck. "The prediction couldn't have been more on the mark," Pearlman told us when we reached him by phone afterwards. What made the prediction especially tough for Pearlman is that he himself is a Michigan grad, class of 2003.
"It feels disappointing, but I called it 21 days ago. I'm fully behind Michigan. I wanted them to win," he explained. "Don't shoot the messenger. And frankly, I was very happy they made it to the finals. It's amazing to be the runner-up in a national championship. You can't always win."
Since his third-place finish in 2015's "America's Got Talent," Pearlman has become a regular on daytime television – appearing often on the Today Show, Dr. Oz and even CNBC and the Fox Business Network. (After all, before he became a mentalist, he honed his prediction skills on Wall Street.) In recent months, he's been showing up with more frequency on ESPN. "I've predicted the last two Super Bowls either days or weeks in advance," he said.
So is he worried that his hot streak of guessing athletic winners might end? "I'm not a psychic," he told us. "I will eventually get it wrong. It's like being at a roulette table." He paused before adding: "This is not a trick. This is a guess. And I'm a very good guesser."
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