The Impossibility of the Perfect March Madness Bracket

Ever wondered what 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 represents? Just to be clear, this would mean 9.2 quintillion. Still not sure what that number means? This would translate into 292 billion years in seconds. For sports fans, it also represents the chances of correctly picking all 63 games of the March Madness at random.


Every year, millions of fans around the globe fill out their NCAA tournament bracket hoping to strike big. And every year, those predictions are wrong. No matter how knowledgeable we may think we are about sports, predicting the outcome is based on luck more than anything else according to this recent study by sports betting site Betway.




Many fans study the games for months on end overanalyzing every little move and some pick randomly and neither can ever have it right. There are too many intangibles. An underdog team upsets a better team, an unknown player becomes a legend overnight and a key player on a solid team gets injured. These are all factors that can dictate the end results and no one can predict when these surprises may happen.


In 2020, the NCAA used data from its Bracket Challenge Game to estimate that the average player has a one in 120.2 billion chance of picking a perfect bracket.


Let’s compare it to becoming a professional basketball player. Seems like a pipe dream, doesn’t it? Here’s a quick calculation. There are about 540,000 players playing men’s high school basketball in the United States. Less than one in 35 of those goes on to play in college, and less than one in 75 NCAA senior players is drafted to the NBA.


The chances of a high school basketball player reaching the NBA are about one in 3,300. That’s still around 36 million times more likely than having a perfect bracket.


How about the odds of being struck by lightning? One in a million, which is 120,000 times more likely than a perfect bracket.

Being hit by a meteorite from space seems almost ludicrous to think about, yet, at odds of around 1.6 million to one, it’s 75,000 more likely to happen to you than you are to go perfect through March.

You have a better chance winning the Lotto than you do coming up with the perfect bracket. The probability of winning the Lotto Max jackpot is 1 in 33.3 million – 3,610 times more likely than the perfect bracket – while quintuplets occur once in every 55 million natural births, making them 2,185 times more likely than going 63 for 63 this March.

This single-elimination tournament brings the best and the worse out of participating teams. The lower seeded teams want to prove themselves to the world while the higher seeded teams want to confirm their status. All it takes is one Cinderella story to change the course of actions and to ruin any predictions. The dilemma facing all those who dare filling out the brackets is that no one quite knows when the surprise might arrive.

An Ohio man in 2019 came the closest to a perfect bracket with 49 games. Before that, the record was 39. Perhaps in the near future, someone will reach 59 games, but even then, it will still be a few games away from a perfect bracket.


Some of the information was taken by The Insider.

Mathieu Blake

Mathieu Blake - Internet Entrepreneur, loves technology, sports, the Montreal Canadiens, Poker, Poker chips, current events and travel. You will often find him Writing about different topics that interest him on websites and blogs. To submit an article, contact the website directly.