Friday, April 4, 2008

One In 9,223,372,036,854,775,808

When I was visiting my friends over the weekend I couldn't help but laugh at all the Brackets that everyone has plastered all over the dorm room walls. As I surveyed all the busted brackets I couldn't help to think, what are the chances of perfection in a bracket? Until I found this.

For any savvy college basketball fans with illusions of achieving perfection in their March Madness tournament brackets this year, consider this: The odds of correctly selecting every winner in the 64-team field are about on in 9 quintillion. That number doubles if the play-in game is included.

Were some mathematical zealot to fill out every possible 64-team bracket on the letter-size paper, the sheets would bury the entire surface of the globe 50 feet deep. To pull the right page from that pulp stack is about as likely as winning California's Super Lotto Jackpot three times in a row.

Of course, many games in the first round of the tournament are near locks, reducing the odds considerably. No 16 seed has ever dethroned a top seed. Still, even if the entire first round is discarded, the chance for perfection is about one in 2 billion.

It's no wonder numerous websites offer million-dollar-plus prizes to anyone who pulls off the impossible.

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