Every March Madness Bracket Has Already Busted
Over 20 million entered, but by the second day, perfect brackets were at zero
Rick from accounting may have been the last man standing in your March Madness bracket office pool, but in 2023 that’s nothing to brag about.
According to the NCAA, which tracks electronically submitted Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Tournament brackets from the web’s leading bracket competition hosts — ESPN, Yahoo! Sports and CBS Sports — as well as its own NCAA Bracket Challenge Game, every single bracket for both tournaments has already been busted.
For the women it was the eighth-seeded Ole Miss’s victory over number-one Stanford that busted the final two perfect brackets, from the initial filings of more than two million. This year, all women’s tourney brackets were busted after 40 games, slightly slower than last year’s mark of 36.
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Over on the men’s side, the Friday night shocker of tournament favorite Purdue getting upset by Fairleigh Dickinson University, which became just the second 16 seed to ever beat a number-one seed, finished off all the remaining perfect brackets, of which there were only 26 after just 24 games played. The speed at which all the men’s tourney brackets have been busted appears to be unprecedented.
“What started with 20+ million brackets in the major online games is down to zero on the second day,” wrote the NCAA. “One year after all brackets busted on Game No. 28, no one remained perfect after the 25th game of the tournament.”
The longest verifiable streak of correctly chosen picks to start an NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament was achieved four years ago. The number? Per the NCAA: 49. That person’s bracket was then busted some time in the Sweet 16.
If your bracket was busted even by the end of day one, don’t feel bad. You were just like more than 99.9% of the rest of the schmucks who filled one out. According to Forbes, less than 0.1% of brackets remained perfect after just a single day of the men’s tournament. That’s primarily because Princeton was the least-picked 15 seed across all brackets, the NCAA said. Just 4.13% of bracketologists picked the Ivy League school, which upset number-two seeded Arizona.
Then, number-13 seeded Furman beat number-four Virginia. “In the Men’s Bracket Challenge Game, 1.89 percent of complete brackets picked BOTH the Paladins and Tigers to advance to the second round,” the NCAA said.
Neither you nor Rick from accounting had much of a shot at a perfect March Madness bracket in the first place. You both could probably be struck by lightning in a year and then be killed by a shark in your lifetime before you made it all the way to a tournament final with a perfect bracket and then correctly guessed the winner.
“The odds of a perfect 63-game NCAA bracket can be as high as 1 in 9.2 quintillion — though those are the perfect bracket odds if every game was a 50-50 coin flip,” wrote the NCAA. “If you take NCAA men’s basketball knowledge into the formula, the odds of picking a perfect a bracket can be as low as 1 in 28 billion, according to the late DePaul professor Jeff Bergen. Bergen estimated if every person on the planet, 7.5 billion, began filling out a bracket per minute, it would take over 2,000 years to fill out 9.2 quintillion.”
Plenty of people with stakes in tournament outcomes are reaping benefits of these massive upsets, however. A sportsbook in Las Vegas paid out $52,500 to someone who bet $2,100 on Fairleigh Dickinson, per ESPN, while the New York Post reports another person who put down $33,000 on the school won $495,000.
Hopefully for you, Rick from accounting didn’t make those bets…unless you’re his one friend in the office. In that case, St. Paddy’s Day drinks should’ve been on him.
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