What Are Your Odds Of Filling Out A Perfect Bracket And Who’s Come The Closest?

A March Madness bracket.


The NCAA Tournament is officially upon us meaning everyone in America will soon be making their March Madness predictions. While many will win their respective pools, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see a perfect bracket.

Today, we’ll show you just how improbable that feat is.

In fact, according to multiple sources, there’s never been a verified submission correctly predicting the outcome of all 63 games (not including the play-in round). A report by NBC tracks data back to the 2016 season, and it says that the closest someone ever came to landing a perfect bracket was in 2019.

A man named Gregg Nigl of Columbus, Ohio correctly predicted the winner of the first 49 games. He’s the only person on record to successfully make it past the second round unscathed.

Nigl suffered his first loss in the 50th game with Tennessee dropping an overtime contest to Purdue.

That’s proof that making it to just the Sweet 16 is nearly impossible, but your chances of correctly picking each of the 63 matchups are far, far less likely.

The NCAA ran a model to illustrate the odds, which come in at insane 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. There’s far too much math that goes into that model for me to regurgitate, but just know, there’s nothing more difficult in sports betting.

How difficult, you ask?

A group of researchers at the University of Hawaii estimated that there are 7.5 quintillion grains of sand on Earth. If we were to pick one of those at random, and then give you one chance to guess which of the 7.5 quintillion grains of sand on the entire planet we had chosen, your odds of getting it correct would be 23 percent better than picking a perfect bracket by coin flip.

There are a number of other wild things more likely to happen, which we recently established on the site.

And, hey, if you include the “First Four” games, those odds inflate to 1 in 147,573,952,589,676,412,928.

The NCAA site does note that those are the numbers had you simply “flipped a coin” for each matchup. If you know a little something about basketball, your chances improve to 1 in 120.2 billion.

Still a longshot, to say the least.

Despite the odds, fans will continue filling in bracket after bracket in hopes of becoming the first person to successfully pick the winner of each game. We’ll see how far the best prediction goes in 2023.

Maybe this will be the year it happens.