The odds of nailing the perfect NCAA Tournament bracket are even worse, than those of getting struck by lightning, being hit by a meteorite from outer space, winning the lottery, and having quintuplets.
Many people fill out the NCAA Tournament bracket every year, with all of those brackets getting busted, time and time again.
The chances are that you will never come close to a perfect March Madness bracket whether you are a college basketball enthusiast who has conducted months of research into the potential championships or a regular chap who prefers to pick up winners randomly.
If you consider the odds of correctly predicting all the 63 games, you will be dumbfounded to realize how it is nearly impossible to achieve.
For you to get it right, you will have to overcome the odds of one in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. To put it clearer, there are 292 billion years in 9.2 quintillion seconds.
Not a single person can fill out their brackets entirely randomly. However, the odds of getting the 63 out of 63 are greatly enhanced if you have some knowledge of college basketball.
In 2020, data from the Brackets Challenge Game estimated that for every average player, there is a one in 120.2 billion chance that they will pick the perfect bracket.
When you compare this to the 9.2 quintillion chance, it seems possible, though it still remains an astronomical figure.
Maybe a great way to put the 120.2 billion chance into perspective, is to compare it with other extremely unlikely occurrences – those that have higher chances of happening compared to getting a perfect bracket.
Think about your chances of making it as a professional basketball player.
Every year, there are about 540,000 players taking part in men’s high school basketball. Out of this number, less than one in 35 will go on and play basketball in college, and less than one in 75 of the senior players will make the cut, and be drafted over into the NBA.
In other words, the chances of a high school basketball player making the grade into the NBA stands at one in 3,300. But even with this, it is still 36 million times more likely to happen than you nailing the perfect bracket.
Secondly, think about getting a royal flush. This is the rarest hand in a five-card poker game. Its chances of it occurring stand at one in 854,318. It will surprise you to learn that this is 185 times more likely compared to landing a perfect bracket.
Thirdly, there is a one in a million chance that you may be struck by lightning. This is a whopping 120,000 times more likely to happen than you getting the perfect bracket.
The thought of being hit by a meteorite is laughable, and highly unlikely, with a chance of one in a 1.6million. However, this is 75,000 times more likely to happen than you getting a perfect bracket.
Now, consider the chances of winning the Lotto Max jackpot or the odds of having quintuplets. There is a one in 33.3 million chance of the former occurring, and just a one in 55 million possibility of the latter. Yet, these are 3610 times and 2185 times more likely to happen respectively, compared to hitting a perfect bracket.
However, the hunt for the perfect bracket is still on. This year, millions of people will continue to search for the holy grail of basketball, and they will be motivated by the success of Gregg Nigl, who, in 2019, came closer to the perfect bracket, compared to anyone else prior.
Nigl managed 49 for 49 when he correctly predicted the results of every game into the Sweet Sixteen. His streak came to an abrupt end when Tennessee was beaten by Purdue. This run was incredibly outstanding, given that the chances of picking the first round of games correctly are about 17000 to one.
All these are indications that the perfect bracket was still a long way off for Nigl. This is because the chances of him getting the last 15 games correct were one in 32, 786.
Perhaps now is the time to accept that we might never see anyone get the perfect bracket. This March, millions will try their luck again, unfortunately, they will watch in disgust as their brackets get busted within the very first games of the tournament.
But it only takes one winner to break this losing streak! You may as well be the one!