March Madness Brackets Cause Maddness

College basketball fans are gearing up to fill out their March Madness Brackets.

It’s that time of year again, everyone at school or work is asking you to fill out an NCAA bracket. College basketball fans are gearing up for the NCAA tournament that begins on March 19. According to the NCAA, around 60 to 100 million March Madness brackets are filled out every year. Filling out a bracket has grown in popularity over the past several years.  Most fans fill out the bracket in competition with their friends to see who can get the most correct picks. It sounds simple, however obtaining a perfect bracket is almost impossible.

Spoiler alert, you probably won’t do it.

As of 2024, no one has ever filled out a perfect March Madness bracket. The odds of filling out a perfect bracket can be as high as 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Even to those basketball fans who feel as if they are well versed in the topic, there is still a 1 in 128 billion chance of filling out a perfect bracket. It’s more likely you would win the lottery than fill out the perfect bracket. The odds worsen your odds to nearly impossible if you decide to flip a coin for every game. Here’s a list of things you are more likely to do before filling out the perfect bracket:

  1. Being bit by a shark (1 in 3.75 million).
  2. Cracking an egg and getting a double yolk (1 in 1,000).
  3. Being struck by lightening ( 1 in 15,300).
  4. Being pregnant with twins (1 in 250).
  5. Being born on leap day (1 in 1,461).

So close.

No one had ever filled out a perfect bracket. However, one man came close to doing so. A man from Columbus, Ohio nearly filled out a bracket that made history. In 2019, Gregg Nigl was confirmed to have the closest winning bracket ever. He picked 49 games correctly until number 2 Tennessee fell to number 3 Purdue. Nigl almost went without filling out the bracket that year due to illness. No one has ever come close to beating Nigl’s nearly-perfect bracket.