Do you remember when Warren Buffett offered a “billion” dollars to anyone who could pick the entire NCAA bracket correctly? It was back in 2014 and it was open to the public, but no one won.
That was a one-year deal, and now Buffett offers “only” a million dollars for a perfect bracket, and you have to be a Berkshire Hathaway employee to win. If a team from his home state of Nebraska wins, and someone from Berkshire Hathaway picks everything correctly, Buffett will double the prize to two million dollars. That won’t happen this year, as Creighton was the only team from Nebraska in the field and they lost to Kansas State in the first round.
What are the odds of a perfect bracket? I Googled it and it’s estimated the odds of picking a perfect NCAA bracket are one in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. Or, if you want to round it off, one in 9.2 quintillion.
I wonder if I could have gotten a bet down in Vegas on that? It would be worth risking $5 for a payback of 46 quintillion dollars. I could not only retire on that, but could probably buy every team in the National Football League and a big screen TV to watch the games.
Of course, to have a perfect bracket you had to have picked UMBC to beat Virginia, and I wonder how many people actually did that? Well, I Googled “How many people picked UMBC to beat Virginia in the NCAA tournament” and there was actually a response. That Google deal really is amazing, you can type in anything and it will give you some kind of answer.
According to “ESPN Stats & Info” 3.4 percent of the brackets entered in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge had UMBC winning that game. I find it amazing that approximately three people among every 100 actually picked UVA to lose in the first round when it had never happened before. I didn’t know that many Hokie fans entered the contest.
How many people entered the contest? Well, an estimated 17.3 million fans played the ESPN Tournament Challenge, and of that group 579,666 people picked UMBC to beat UVA! It doesn’t sound like that big an upset when you put it like that. You can fill Mitchell Field 300 times with that many people.
On the other hand, 18.5 percent of the entries had Virginia winning the whole thing, or about three and a half million folks. That’s three and a half million people who aren’t going to win their pool, including my wife.
My wife watches maybe one or two college basketball games all season. However, she fills out a bracket in the annual contest I enter, and then she watches games all weekend long. This year she stopped paying attention once Virginia lost, because that killed any chance of her winning since she had the Wahoos going all the way.
I’m sure there’s a lot of folks out there like that. But, unless you picked Virginia to beat Michigan State in the final, you’re probably still in the running. No one could pick all those upsets.
Did you ever see the movie “Back to the Future 2.” In the movie Biff, the idiot who tries to bully Marty McFly, gets ahold of a sports almanac from the future and goes back in time to place bets. If I had one of those almanacs from, say, the year 2020 I could have made a bunch of money betting on this year’s tournament. Maybe even $46 quintillion.
Oh well, I already have a nice TV.
I’ll tell you one bet I should have jumped on. I should have put something on Putin winning that election in Russia.