The Odds of Picking a Perfect Bracket for March Madness Are Slim to None

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Mar. 27 2023, Published 3:58 p.m. ET

As the 2023 NCAA tournament comes to an end, we can't help but wonder: Are there any perfect brackets left? Sadly, no. In fact, according to the NCAA, the last verifiably perfect men's March Madness bracket busted when No. 16 FDU upset No. 1 Purdue.

That came in the first round, during the 25th game overall.

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We all know that filling out a March Madness bracket can be a difficult and time-consuming task, so what would it take to predict a perfect one? Better yet, what happens if you do have a perfect March Madness bracket? It's never happened before, but here's everything we know so far.

A basketball goes into a basketball hoop
Source: Getty Images
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What happens if you have a perfect bracket for March Madness?

Well, what happens is that you have a perfect bracket, and you should definitely celebrate because you're the only person in the entire world to achieve this unimaginable feat. Out of all the people in the world, both past and present, you're the first in history to fill out a perfect bracket for March Madness — talk about iconic.

OK, since there's never been a verified perfect March Madness bracket, we're not quite sure what would happen. With that said, however, we don't think you should expect the President of the United States to award you a medal.

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What are the odds of filling out a perfect March Madness bracket?

Despite hyping ourselves up every year and claiming, "This could be the year I become the first person ever to fill out a perfect March Madness bracket," it never happens and likely never will because the odds are unbelievably overwhelming. However, the NCAA notes it's technically possible for someone to fill out a perfect bracket.

But, once again, the odds are convincing enough for us to realize it won't happen for a very, very long time.

DePaul University math professor Jeff Bergen says these 10 things are more likely to happen than filling out a perfect bracket.
Source: NCAA

DePaul University math professor Jeff Bergen says these 10 things are more likely to happen than filling out a perfect bracket.

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If you were to just 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 somewhat familiar with basketball, the odds are slightly better — you have a 1 in 120.2 billion chance. Of course, the more knowledge you have of the tournament and current teams, the better your chances are of making history.

What's the longest verifiable March Madness perfect bracket streak?

According to the NCAA, the longest verifiable streak of correct picks in a March Madness bracket is 49. This streak came about in 2019 when Gregg Nigl, a neuropsychologist from Columbus, Ohio, correctly predicted the entire NCAA tournament into the Sweet 16, which was something not seen in years.

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In an interview with the NCAA, Greg revealed that he'd been filling out March Madness brackets for well over a decade. When asked if he has any strategy, the Ohio native said he "always watch[es] bracketology."

"I listen to them, take into account what they say," he added. "And then, honestly, sometimes it's which teams I like better. Some cities I like better, some teams I like better, some coaches I like better. I do look at the rankings too. It's a combination of things. "Don't get me wrong, a bunch of this is luck. I know that. I'm not going to say I knew every matchup by any means."

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