Picking the perfect bracket: Mathematical madness behind March Madness

Let the games begin! Sixty-three games actually. I’m talking about March Madness, when 126 college basketball teams face off for the title of NCAA basketball champion.

This means it’s time to fill in your tournament bracket. But is it possible to pick a perfect bracket? Has anyone ever chosen every single winning team?

There’s more math to basketball then just racking up two points here… three points there… how do you pick your winner?

We hate to tell you this, but your chances of picking a perfect NCAA March Madness bracket is low… really low.

In fact, the experts who study the numbers behind March Madness say that if you randomly pick your bracket, the chances of winning is about one in 9.2 quintillion.

You have a better chance of winning the Powerball twice in a row. Researchers using statistical methods have only reliably picked about 70% of the games correctly, making the probability of a perfect bracket one in 5.7 billion.

If you could reliably pick the winner of each game 75% of the time, the probability of perfection jumps all the way to one in 74 million.

Here’s one tip — it’s a safe bet to choose all the number one seed teams to win their first-round matchups against number 16 seed teams, considering in the entire history of the tournament, only one number one seed team has ever lost to a 16 seed.

Here’s hoping you will beat the odds and be the first to pick a perfect bracket.

The probability of a perfect bracket is so low that Warren Buffet offered a billion dollars to anyone who could pull it off in 2014. No one did.

Sources: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/mathmatical-madness-behind-perfect-ncaa-basketball-bracket-180971763/ https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/ncaa-bracketology https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/mathmatical-madness-behind-perfect-ncaa-basketball-bracket-180971763/

Contributor(s) to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor. To receive a free weekly email on Smart Living from Ivanhoe, sign up at: http://www.ivanhoe.com/ftk

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