March Madness Is Here! What You Need to Know About Filling out a Bracket

March Madness is right around the corner, so here's everything you need to know about brackets and how they work, including how to fill one out.

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Mar. 13 2023, Published 4:53 p.m. ET

Let the madness begin.

On Sunday, March 12, the NCAA selection committee announced the 68-team roster for the men's basketball single-elimination tournament, and there's no telling who's going to come out on top this year. As each school prepares for what will likely be the most intense experience of the season, fans are getting in on the action with March Madness pools.

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OK, you may be thinking, "What is a March Madness pool?" Well, it's a form of sports betting — you don't need to put money on the line if you don't want to — that's become increasingly popular over the years due to brackets. Stick around for everything you should know about March Madness brackets, including how they work.

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How does a March Madness bracket work?

For starters, a March Madness bracket is a grid of all 64 teams in the NCAA tournament and the path they have to follow to the Final Four and championship game. Before the event officially kicks off, you can fill out a bracket either online or by hand and predict the winner for each of the 63 games in the tournament.

It's entirely up to you how you want to make your picks, whether that's diving into the statistics or a random draw.

After completing your bracket, sit back and watch the madness unfold! You'll either bask in the glory of victory or witness your bracket get busted before the first round is over — we've all been there before.

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Now, as the tournament progresses, you'll earn points for every winner you picked correctly. These points will increase each round — second-round games are worth twice as much as first-round matchups, and so on. When the tournament is over, the player with the most points wins.

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What are the odds of predicting a perfect March Madness bracket?

Filling out a March Madness bracket is a difficult task, and no one has successfully filled out a perfect bracket... yet.

If you're like us, you're probably hyping yourself up and saying, "This could be the year I become the first person ever to fill out a perfect bracket!" Well, we hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this will most definitely not be the year — in fact, we don't see this ever happening because the odds are insane.

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According to the NCAA, it's technically possible for someone to fill out a perfect bracket; however, the overwhelming odds are convincing enough for the organization to realize it won't happen this year.

If you were to simply guess or flip a coin, you have a 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 (9.2 quintillion) chance of predicting a perfect bracket. Now, if you're a bit familiar with basketball, the odds are slightly better — you have a 1 in 120.2 billion chance of filling out a perfect March Madness bracket. Honestly, just don't get your hopes up.

The 2023 March Madness tournament begins with First Four on Tuesday, March 14 at 6:40 p.m. EST on truTV. First-round games officially kick off on Thursday, March 16 at 12:15 p.m. EST and will be broadcast across four cable networks: CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV. It will also be streamed on Paramount Plus.

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