PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — You don’t have to be a basketball fan to recognize an NCAA Championship bracket sheet. An estimated 40 million Americans will try to pick winning brackets in the annual March Madness guessing game.
With 68 teams competing, what are the chances of picking the winner of every single game? Let’s compare those odds with winning the Powerball jackpot.
Everyone we spoke with in the Strip District said a Powerball win is less likely. The odds against winning the jackpot are 292 million to one.
As for a perfect bracket, Professor Jeff Bergen of DePaul University uses a blackboard to illustrate the odds.
“This number is more than a nine with eighteen zeros, which we call nine quintillion. So there are more than nine quintillion ways to fill out an NCAA bracket.”
Of course, if you understand the game, he says your odds improve.
“If you know something about basketball, then your chance of getting a perfect bracket is probably more like 1 one in 128 billion.”
Which is still a lot more than the 292 million to one odds of winning the Powerball jackpot. A final note: hundreds of people have won the Powerball. There’s no record of anyone, ever, picking a perfect bracket.