Need help filling out NCAA bracket? We’ve got you covered with our complete guide to the NCAA March Madness bracket.
March Madness is the sporting event for everyone to get involved in. And many seek help filling out the NCAA bracket every year.
Predicting the outcome of March Madness is far from an exact science, but that just makes the event more appealing to the masses. Sure, it’s great to root for a powerhouse, but getting behind a once-in-a-lifetime ‘Cinderella’ like St. Peter’s in 2022 is a sporting experience unlike any other.
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And that’s before we get to the best part of the NCAA Tournament – brackets! Whether you watch college basketball religiously, or haven’t seen a game in ages, odds are you’ll be asked to participate in someone’s bracket pool.
And why not? After all, the tournament is so unpredictable that you don’t need to be a walking encyclopedia of college hoops knowledge to compete. We’ve all heard a story about a co-worker or even a child who won the pool or finished near the top by picking teams based off their nicknames, mascots or even team colors.
Here’s a looks at some of the history and quirks that make the NCAA Tournament so popular with fans! Along the way, maybe you’ll pick up a few pointers for this year’s bracket.
Just don’t be surprised if you’re competing with at least one person who let their dog pick the winners…
Why Is March Madness So Popular?
Some people go all year without watching a college basketball game, yet they end up filling out one or more brackets come March. But why?
Call this one the positive sides of peer pressure.
For a couple weeks, or at least several days in March, the one thing everyone’s talking about is March Madness.
The three days between the release of the bracket and the first round of games are filled with anticipation, and the early start times on Thursday and Friday make for a great excuse to take off work early to see whether your picks pay off.
Can the local school make a big run to the Final Four? Should I pick my alma mater to win it all? Or stick with the proven powers who win year after year?
You don’t need to know much about college basketball to develop a rooting interest, even if it’s only temporary.
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Even if you aren’t a big college basketball fan, the bracket itself is easy to understand. The first round starts with 64 teams, divided into four regions of sixteen teams a piece.
From there, half the teams are eliminated each round. 64 turns to 32, then 16, followed by 8 teams fighting to qualify for the Final Four.
The Final Four teams play a Saturday doubleheader for the right to advance to a championship game, held on the first Monday evening in April.
There’s no re-seeding, no seven-game series, no bye weeks. Two teams play, one advances. Easy, simple, and straightforward. And perfect for an office pool.
If that’s not easy enough, these days there are countless websites that will run your bracket pool for free.
All you need is a username and a password to register your group on most sports-related sites, and the website will calculate the scores of each person who enters your pool. No more adding scores by hand or handing out sheets with standings.
(If you’ve reached a certain age, you probably remember cutting the bracket out of the newspaper and running off copies on Monday morning after the NCAA announced the teams and collecting sheets along with $5 or $10 from each participant in your pool. That wasn’t exactly complicated – but the Internet makes it considerably easier for the pool commissioner!)
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Of course, the light at the end of the 64-team tunnel is the prize money for your pool. Even at $10 or $20 per entry, get enough people involved and winning your bracket pool makes for a pretty nice payday.
Some pools are winner take all, while others divide the money with 60% or so going to first place, with 30% and 10% for second and third place respectively. Either way, as the tournament progresses and you see your name at or near the top of the standings, each game takes on added importance even if your favorite school is eliminated.
Legalized sports wagering only adds to the possibilities. On top of bracket pools, now you can bet on individual games or overall tournament results. Prop betting and futures gain popularity with each passing year, as sportsbooks offer wagers such as:
- How many No. 1 seeds will make the Final Four?
- Will a team seeded No. 10 or higher make the Sweet 16?
- Which conference will produce the National Championship-winning team?
Like everything else in sports, March Madness is a little more fun with money on the line. How much money? It depends on the size of your bracket pool. Of course, there’s another way to strike it right during March Madness…
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March Madness Help Filling Out Bracket – Has Anyone Ever Had a Perfect Bracket?
The perfect bracket. It’s the holy grail for NCAA Tournament aficionados, a task that nearly everyone attempts but few approach and none have accomplished.
See, the perfect bracket requires picking the winner of all 63 games in the NCAA Tournament. From the obscure first-round games between two small schools to the National Championship. you need to get them ALL right.
You’ve probably already guessed this, but there is no record of anyone ever filling out a perfect bracket with all 63 games correct. Considering the odds, that’s not surprising.
What Are the Odds of a Perfect Bracket?
Assuming a 50/50 chance of picking every game correctly, the odds of a perfect bracket are 9.2 quintillion to one. A ‘quintillion’ is the number one followed by eighteen zeroes.
Of course, you can cut those odds down considerably with some college basketball knowledge. After all, the odds of picking the winner between No. 1 Kansas and No. 16 Central Connecticut State should be a lot better than 50/50, right? So could a diehard fan accomplish this?
A Georgia Tech professor created a statistical model that can predict NCAA regular-season games with up to 75 percent accuracy. Using that model to predict the Tournament would give you odds somewhere between one in 10 billion and one in 40 billion of a perfect bracket.
Most people aren’t using the professor’s model, but using the accuracy of the average NCAA bracket, the number is closer to a one in 120.2 billion chance of a perfect bracket.
What’s that mean? It means you’re 400 times more likely to win the Powerball jackpot than to fill out a perfect bracket.
It also means that if every single person in the United States filled out a unique bracket every year, we could expect to see a perfect bracket sometime around the year 2400.
(TL; DR version: Don’t hold your breath waiting for the perfect bracket!)
What’s the Closest Anyone Has Come to Filling Out the Perfect NCAA Bracket?
Who was the last person to get a perfect bracket? Well, it’s a feat that has never been achieved.
Just four years ago, Gregg Nigl of Columbus, OH, got to the Sweet 16 with a perfect bracket intact.
This meant Nigl chose the entire first and second rounds – the first 48 of the 63 total games – correctly. What’s more, he nailed the first game of the Sweet 16 as Gonzaga took out Florida State!
Minutes later, however, Nigl’s dream came to an end when Purdue eliminated Tennessee in overtime.
But at 49 games, he holds the (unofficial) record for the closest anyone’s come to a perfect bracket. If anyone ever completes the feat Nigl attempted, there’s quite a prize waiting for them…
Warren Buffett and the $1 Billion Perfect Bracket Challenge
Warren Buffett needs no introduction to anyone familiar with the world of finance.
Unofficially, the Berkshire Hathaway founder is the world’s fifth-richest man. But what does he have to do with March Madness?
Back in 2014, Buffett agreed to finance a contest that offered a $1 billion prize to anyone who could complete a perfect March Madness bracket. He’s continued the challenge every year since, and if you’ve read this far you already know that no one’s come particularly close to claiming the prize.
Legal issues forced Buffett to restrict the prize offer only to employees of Berkshire Hathaway back in 2021, and there’s been no formal announcement of resuming the contest in an “open to the public” fashion.
But if someone with a comparable bankroll to Buffett’s wanted to get some quick publicity, a $1 billion Bracket Challenge wouldn’t be the worst idea.
As we’ve already discussed, it’s not just college basketball fans who are paying attention to March Madness – just about everyone has either filled out a bracket or been invited to join a contest at some points.
Plus, at the odds we discussed – the likelihood of anyone winning the $1 billion is awfully low. In fact, at those odds, $1 billion might just be a bargain. But, hey, you now have help filling out your NCAA bracket for March Madness 2023.