- Winning the Powerball and Mega Millions lottery
in the same week by buying one ticket each for both.
- Picking six people at random on the street and all
of them having the same birthday as you.
- Your favorite professional baseball or football
team winning the next 12 championships.
- A professional golfer getting a hole-in-one on
five consecutive par 3 holes. (They average around one in every 2,500 attempts.)
- A professional bowler rolling 85 strikes in a
row. (They roll strikes about 60 percent of the time.)
To put the number 9.2 quintillion into perspective, if you piled that
many brackets on top of each other, they would reach from here to the sun and
back more than 3,000 times.
Bergen realizes that many may look at his calculations and think they
have a better chance at a perfect bracket because they follow basketball and
the annual tournament closely. However, knowing that a No. 1 seed has never
lost to a No. 16 seed, or that a No. 2 seed has only lost to a No. 15 seed
eight times in 128 opportunities can only help so much, he says. With
tournament knowledge like that, the odds of picking a perfect bracket only
increase to about one in 128 billion, Bergen added.
“I don’t want to come across as a mathematician trying to ruin the fun
of March Madness, though,” said Bergen. “The idea is to have fun, even if you
probably aren’t going to get a perfect bracket. Usually you just want to do the
best out of your family or a group of friends. Just enjoy the games and
“I’ve been a sports fan for a really long time, so I don’t mind playing
with these crazy numbers,” said Bergen. “People get fascinated with the
magnitude of the numbers, but the math is not that complicated. It’s just
bigger numbers than we usually come across in daily life. I would like to
demystify how I got the 9.2 quintillion answer because it would be nice if at
every middle or high school the students were coming up with this answer.”
Nicknamed March Madness due its often-unpredictable nature, the NCAA
Tournament begins March 14 with the “First Four,” which features four games not
included in traditional brackets, to trim the 68-team field to 64. The
announcement of the 68-team field is set for March 12. The Final Four begins
April 1 with the national championship game held April 3.
Watch Bergen break down the numbers at http://depaulne.ws/MarchMadness_2017.