March Madness has found the perfect way to get fans involved in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament: bracketology. Millions of brackets are created every year by fans worldwide, all hoping to create the perfect combination of picks.
The odds of completing a perfect bracket, given the bracket-maker has some prior college basketball knowledge, is one in 120 billion. With these odds, there is no arguing about the difficulty of a clean bracket.
The tradition of filling out brackets for March Madness began in 1977, with a small bar in New Jersey offering $10 buy-ins to anyone hoping to participate.
Best March Madness brackets of all-time
While upsets can deliver immense excitement for some fans, they can prove devastating for those looking to complete the perfect bracket. The closest any bracket has come to absolute perfection came in 2019, when a neuropsychologist from Ohio took the perfect bracket through 50 games.
The previous record was only 36 games, but the record-shattering bracket from 2019 will likely stand strong for many years. The owner of the best bracket ever, Gregg Nigl, claimed there was "a lot of luck" involved in his selections.
Nonetheless, his bracket was truly incredible and will remain in the March Madness history books.
There are more than nine trillion possible outcomes in the March Madness tournament, making the perfect bracket just about impossible. Not only would someone need an incredible knowledge of college basketball, but also lots of luck to achieve perfection.
Any chance of a perfect bracket this year has already been spoiled, with many shocking first-and-second round upsets. After 2nd-seeded Ohio State fell to 15th-seeded Oral Roberts, only 108 out of 14.7 million ESPN brackets remained.
While the odds are nearly zero, millions of people still love filling out brackets. Making a bracket gives fans teams to root for, big and small schools alike. Cinderella stories are built by the players and coaches, but their stories are lifted up by the fans.
As March Madness continues, bracketology will be thrown out the window. This year has already busted every single bracket, but that will not deter fans from coming back for more next March.