Someone surely has had to have had a perfect bracket right?
The NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. There are 63 total games if you do not count the First Four as most pools do not. People have been filling out and betting on brackets in office pools and competitions among friends and online for decades.
There are 9.2 quintillion ways to fill out a 64-team bracket. So, yes, the odds of picking a perfect bracket are essentially one in 9.2 quintillion.
If you filled out one bracket per second, it would take you 292 billion years to fill out all the possibilities.
Some use their deep college basketball knowledge to fill out their brackets. Others choose based on team colors or mascots. Some pick randomly, while others flip a coin to select a winner.
Some people win their pools without ever watching a basketball game all season. Sometimes a dog choosing the games ends up with the winning bracket.
But it has never been perfect.
Will exceptional basketball knowledge help select a perfect bracket?
Knowledge of the game does not help much, either, as those who watch the game still only have a 1 in 120.2 billion chance at going perfect, according to some calculations.
A few years ago, billionaire Warren Buffett offered one billion dollars to anyone who could select the perfect bracket. Millions tried, but Buffett kept the billion. Currently, his contest is only offered to his Berkshire Hathaway employees, but no one has been able to retire early off the billion.
After Thursday, the first full day of the 2023 tournament, most brackets were already ruined. Sixteen games were played, including the stunner where No. 15 seed Princeton took down No. 2 seed Arizona. The Ivy League school sent many brackets up in flames with its wild win.
ESPN hosts its tournament pool online and is one of the biggest in the world, with millions of entries. Entering Friday (Day 2 of the tournament), only 0.003% of brackets were still perfect. Twenty million brackets were entered on ESPN.
Only 787 brackets remained perfect after Day 1 among the major online challenges.
Even the guarantee of No. 1 seeds advancing in the first round was disrupted when No. 16 seed UMBC became the first to beat the No. 1 seed Virginia in 2018.
Will this be the year someone finally goes perfect?
No. Probably not.