March Madness Bracket Odds

Bracket-odds image via Smithsonianmag

Are you trying to pick the perfect March Madness bracket? Well, I wish you good luck with that daunting task. I have been picking brackets since I was in 3rd grade, and I have never survived Thursday with a perfect bracket, let alone a whole tournament. With 63 games played during the tournament, the odds are definitely not in your favor.

Researchers have estimated that your odds are about 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Just to magnify the absurdness, here is what your odds are written out: 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. Even considering the wide variety of teams and upsets, this number still seems large, right? Here are some things that are more likely to occur than a perfect bracket:

  • Flipping a coin and getting heads 30 times in a row (1 in 1.1 billion)
  • Making eight half-court shots in a row (1 in 39 trillion)
  • Getting bit by a venomous snake, losing your job, and getting injured in a car crash in the same day (1 in 4.2 quadrillion)
  • Being hit by lightning three times in one year (1 in 343 quadrillion)

The list goes on and on, and it’s truly crazy to believe just how unlikely it is for a perfect bracket. Even with the surge in the number of brackets picked in recent history, it still doesn’t even scratch the surface of perfection. Last year, a bracket stayed perfect until the Sweet Sixteen, but it fell when Tennessee defeated Purdue in one of the craziest games in NCAA history.

So, is this the year that we finally see a perfect bracket? The easy answer is no, but I’m going to remain optimistic. Yes, upsets are impossible to foresee, but I like to believe that there is a chance that someone finally gets just lucky enough. Anything in life is possible, so why not? I think that if a perfect bracket was ever accomplished that it would ruin some of the “allure” of March Madness, but I’d love to see it. I have asked for three things to occur in sports since I was a child:

  1. A 16-seed beats a 1-seed: Check! UMBC upset my champions that year, Virginia, in dramatic fashion.
  2. The Eagles win the Super Bowl: Check! Nick Foles led the Eagles past the Patriots in one of the most electric Super Bowls ever played
  3. A perfect bracket occurs: Nope! Perfection still alludes us.

Here’s to #3 happening this year!

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