The odds of picking a perfect bracket for the NCAA men’s basketball March Madness championship tournament are a staggering less than one-in-9.2 quintillion (that’s 9,223,372,036,854,775,808), according to Jeff Bergen, mathematics professor at DePaul University.

“It would be more likely for Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry to hit 414 free throws in a row than it would be to pick a perfect bracket by guessing,” said Bergen. “The current NBA record is 97 free throws in a row.”

Here are four other things more likely to happen than guessing a perfect bracket, according to Bergen:

  • Football quarterback Tom Brady completing 96 passes in a row. (NFL record is 25.)
  • Babe Ruth hitting home runs in 17 consecutive at bats when he was alive and playing. (MLB record is 4.)
  • Nolan Ryan striking out 31 batters in a row in his playing days. (MLB record is 10.)
  • Your favorite football team winning the next 13 Super Bowls.

“It would also be easier to win the Mega Millions lottery two times in a row, buying one ticket both times, than it would be to get a perfect bracket,” Bergen determined.

College sports analysts and bracketology experts who study the teams, coaches and players have the challenging task each year of trying to determine the outcome of 63 games. Experts provide insight into March Madness and analysis even before teams are chosen and ranked for the tournament on Selection Sunday, March 13, this year.

“It’s essentially impossible to guess a perfect bracket, but that’s no reason not to have fun with it,” Bergen said.

Could basketball knowledge help your odds?

Bergen said “yes” but it is still a long shot. “Suppose you know that a No. 1 seed has never lost to a No. 16 seed in the men’s tournament. That would help improve your odds. With additional knowledge of basketball and the history of the tournament, the odds of picking a perfect bracket would be approximately one in 128 billion,” he said.

Watch Bergen break down numbers at

Source: DePaul University