What are the Odds of Picking a Perfect March Madness Bracket?

What are the Odds of Picking a Perfect March Madness Bracket?

We are now fewer than two weeks away from Selection Sunday and all the college basketball betting action that the Match Madness will give us. The age-old question will likely be asked hundreds of times over that four-day period as fans fill out their brackets for office pools across the country: What if I pick the perfect bracket?


What are the Odds of Picking a Perfect March Madness Bracket?

Now, selecting the perfect bracket is what we all aspire to as the rewards for a validated perfect bracket will likely bring prizes in terms of cash, prizes, and most certainly, fame. That said, the next person to do it will also be the first person to accomplish the feat, as ESPN and Yahoo Sports have both stated in recent years that they have never seen a valid perfect bracket in their very popular tournament challenges.


What are the Actual Odds?

A quick google search reveals that the college basketball odds of filling out a perfect bracket are just 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Now, I have never even heard of that number so here is what it actually looks like: 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. Most of the time, the brackets are knocked from perfection on day two. According to an article released by NPR, the longest streak was in 2019 when a madness participant picked the first 49 games of the event correctly.


Stuff Happens

There has now never been an instance of a certain lower seed winning in the first round. Thanks to UMBC and the rules of inevitability, you can no longer simply assume that even a #1 seed will waltz into the round of 32. Now, the probability of a Virginia-type loss happening again is of course, very slim, but never zero.

Just last season Saint Peters, a fifteen seed, took down Kentucky in the first round of the dance. That Wildcats group from last season boasted the national player of the year, a player that scored nearly 2,400 points during his career, senior leadership, a first-round NBA draft selection and a player that could be the Big East Player of the Year this season. Of course, the Peacocks didn’t stop there as they went on to defeat Murray State Racers and Purdue before falling to North Carolina. So even if you faded that Kentucky group, it’s unlikely you carried Saint Peters to the elite eight.


Creating a Successful Bracket

The best thing to do when trying to create the perfect bracket is to forget about it. It is unlikely to ever happen though again, never zero. One successful strategy is to simply play the odds. A quick search will provide you with records of each seed matchup along with winning percentages all-time.

With this data, you then work in some underdogs you like in the first round or two to pull some upsets. What you always need to remember is that those first and second-round games are not big point scorers for you in the overall standings.

Traditionally the cream of the season ultimately rises to the top so have fun with the first weekend, then concentrate on the high power six teams that you like. Look for teams that protect the ball, shoot the triple, and don’t just run, run, run. While there have been successful uptempo teams in the past, it’s easier to slow a team down than it is to speed one up.

2023 March Madness Sweet 16 Schedule
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Friday, March 24 | Sweet 16

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 5 San Diego State6:30 p.m. TBS
No. 1 Houston vs. No. 5 Miami7:15 p.m.CBS
No. 6 Creighton vs. No. 15 Princeton9 p.m.TBS
No. 2 Texas vs. No. 3 Xavier9:45 p.m.CBS
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