Madness in March and a Billion Dollars Too

Posted: March 24, 2014 in Villanova

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The NCAA Men’s Tournament is underway and after the second round, only 16 teams remain.

Every year, millions of fans celebrities, sports writers and TV hosts alike fill out their own bracket and predict who will be national champions.

While many of those brackets are part of a pool that wins you money, billionaire Warren Buffett really upped the ante this year.

In a contest sponsored by Quicken Loans, Buffett agreed to give $1 billion dollars, yes billion with a “b”, to anyone who finished the tournament with a perfect bracket, correctly predicting every winner of every matchup in the tournament.

To put things into perspective, the odds of finishing with a perfect bracket are approximately 1 in 9.2 quintillion (a quintillion is one followed by 18 zeros), as calculated by DePaul University math professor Jeff Bergen.

Approximately 11 million brackets were entered in the contest and after the first day of opening round games, there were just over 41,000 perfect brackets remaining. Unfortunately, my bracket was not one of them; it didn’t make it past the first few games.

After the first round, there was just one perfect bracket remaining. That bracket belonged to Brad Binder of Oak Grove, Illinois, who, though he filled the bracket out on Yahoo.com, did not enter Warren Buffet’s billion dollar contest.

Binder correctly predicted the first 36 games before 11-seeded Dayton’s 55-53 upset over #3 – seeded Syracuse busted the only remaining perfect bracket.

Binder, who became a viral sensation after his bracket was the only perfect one remaining, tweeted “And that was the closest I’ve ever come to not winning a billion dollars.” after his bracket was finally busted.

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Just when you thought Dayton’s upset of Ohio State was big…

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The 14-seeded Mercer Bears toppled #3 seeded Duke later in the opening round.

Aside from busted brackets, the other main theme of this year’s tournament, as is the case each year, is upsets, and there have been plenty of them thus far.

It started in the first round when 14-seeded Mercer University upset the heavily favored #3-seeded Duke Blue Devils to advance to the second round.

This loss came two years after Duke lost to 15-seeded Lehigh University in the opening round of the 2012 tournament. Duke head coach Mike Kryzyzewski went into Mercer’s locker room following the game to congratulate the Bears on their win.

The upsets kept coming in the round of 32 when 11-seeded Dayton and 10-seeded Stanford upset #3-seeded Syracuse and #2-seeded Kansas respectively, setting up an unlikely sweet sixteen matchup between the two schools.

Also in the second round, #8-seeded Kentucky upset the #1-seeded, and previously 34-0, Wichita State Shockers to advance to set up a sweet sixteen showdown with longtime rivals Louisville.

With my pick as champion (Kansas) and my favorite team (Villanova) both out, I am pretty much rooting for what is left of my bracket. Since half of my Final Four (Kansas and Wichita State) is also out, that means Michigan State and Arizona.

The NCAA Tournament resumes tonight when the #6-seeded Baylor Bears take on the #2-seeded Wisconsin Badgers at 6:47 pm, followed by the #4-seeded Sand Diego State Aztecs facing the #1-seeded Arizona Wildcats at 9: 17 pm.

 

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