Has anyone ever had a perfect bracket for March Madness?
Part of the fun of March Madness is filling out the bracket to predict how the tournament is going to play out. Has anyone ever done so 100% accurately?
College basketball fans are crazy for March Madness, and part of what makes it fun is filling out the bracket to try your hand at predicting who will win the matchups and eventually make the Final Four. If you have been trying for years to come up with the perfect bracket and failing miserably at it, you’re not the only one. In fact, you’re literally like everyone else who has engaged in this endeavor -- a failure in this regard.
What are the odds for a perfect March Madness bracket?
No one has ever had a perfect bracket for March Madness. The odds are definitely not in anyone’s favor, because mathematically, the chances of someone coming up with a perfectly accurate bracket are one in 9.2 quintillion. As you’re no doubt aware, a quintillion is the number one followed by 18 zeros. As the boffins at NCAA worked out it’s 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 if you just guess or flip a coin, and a slightly better 1 in 120.2 billion, if you know a little something about basketball.
The odds are so small that In 2014, billionaire Warren Buffett was confident enough to offer to pay $1 billion to anyone who would be able to come up with a perfect March Madness bracket. No one succeeded, as expected, and though the fifth richest man in the world made the same offer in succeeding years, it was typically made available only to employees of Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway.
What is the best ever March Madness bracket? Meet Gregg Nigl
The person who has come closest to correctly predicting the winners of all the games (on record) is Gregg Nigl of Columbus, Ohio, who achieved the record-setting feat in 2019. He correctly picked the winners for the first 49 games, and this broke the previous streak of 39 that was set in 2017. Nigl was also the first person to bring an unblemished bracket through to the Sweet 16.
Despite the astronomical odds against bracket players, they continue to fill them out in the hopes of one day winning something (whether it’s bragging rights or actual money). There are approximately 70 million March Madness brackets filled out each year, according to the American Gaming Association.
The tournament’s unpredictability makes the bracket contest interesting and popular for a wider group of people. Even people who know nothing about college basketball could correctly guess a game’s outcome through sheer luck, making the process fun, or frustrating, for those who wish to participate. Keep trying. Maybe one day...
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