NCAA Basketball March Madness

NCAA Tournament 2014: 5 Reasons Why a Perfect Bracket Doesn’t Exist

1 of 6

Filling Out A Perfect Bracket Is Nearly Impossible

March Madness
Kevin C. Cox-Getty Images

It’s a simple enough question and it seems easy enough to do.

Why has there never been a perfect March Madness bracket?

Every year hardcore, casual and non-fans of college basketball fill out millions of brackets in hopes of winning (or at least placing in) their office’s or friends’ pools. In 2013, 8.15 million brackets were entered into ESPN’s Tournament Challenge, which is free to enter. Do you know how many perfect brackets were left out of that 8.15 million after just 24 games?


Read that again. 8.15 million brackets were submitted and after 24 games only one perfect bracket remained. That is insane. The round of 64 wasn’t even over yet and only one perfect bracket was left standing. Also, keep in mind that even though the “one bracket each year” rule should be followed, not everyone adheres to it. I’m sure people submitted way more than one bracket. That means even though people took multiple cracks at filling out brackets last year they would have been out of the running to take home the $1 Billion prize that Warren Buffet, along with his company Berkshire Hathaway, and Quicken Loans are offering for the perfect bracket this year before the first weekend of the tournament was over!

It seems doable. If you do the math, you have to pick 63 winners. Even though all brackets have to be entirely filled out before the tournament starts and not just as each round concludes, picking 63 winners seems, dare I say, almost easy.

So, why is it nearly impossible to fill out the perfect bracket?

Let’s take a look at five reasons why this is the case.

Justin Patrick is a New England Patriots writer for Follow him on Twitter @calling_allfans, like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

2 of 6

5. The Bracket

March Madness
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

There is always at least one quadrant of the bracket where it appears the Selection Committee placed the best two, three and four seeds, making it very difficult to discern which team you should have winning that region. In addition, every talking head and “expert” will give their analysis on which team they believe will win that region, and each person’s analysis is different from the next. And that is only for one region—there are three other “easier” regions to complete as well.

3 of 6

4. Some Brackets Are Filled Out By People Who Do Not Follow College Basketball

March Madness
Len Redkoles-Getty Images

Granted most people filling out brackets every year follow college basketball, but not everyone who fills out a bracket does. Common sense would tell you, you acquire knowledge about college basketball by following it and the more knowledge you have the better chance you have at filling out a perfect bracket. But if there is a percentage of people filling out brackets that really know nothing about college basketball, it stands to reason that decreases the odds a perfect bracket is submitted.

4 of 6

3. The Upsets

March Madness
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

No matter how much you know (or think you know) about college basketball it is impossible to predict all of the upsets throughout the entire tournament. Key players suffering injuries during the tournament is just one of the many factors that can lead to upsets. The upsets are part of what makes the tournament fun, maddening and ultimately almost impossible to fill out the perfect bracket.

5 of 6

2. The Tournament is Single Elimination

March Madness
Paul Spinelli-Getty Images

It would be much easier to pick winners more frequently if the teams had to play a best of five or seven game series. It is much easier for anything to happen when teams only play a single game against each other.

6 of 6

1. The Odds

March Madness
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It is extremely unlikely anyone will fill out the perfect bracket since the odds are one in 9.2 quintillion. Yes, this is strictly from a statistical perspective and if you follow college basketball and watch the NCAA tournament every year that could increase your odds, but you’re starting with mathematical odds of one in 9.2 quintillion. I wouldn’t pin all of your hopes of getting rich on filling out the perfect bracket this year, even if you are obsessed with college basketball and the NCAA tournament.