Picking the 'perfect bracket': UH professor weighs in on March Madness


by Sherry Williams / KHOU 11 News


Posted on March 18, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 20 at 5:08 AM

HOUSTON – Warren Buffet and Quicken Loans have made a March Madness bet – $1 billion will go to anyone who can come up with a perfect NCAA bracket.

At a local Champs Sports Bar, fans are talking about the $1 billion bet.

Get your printable bracket here

“I’m probably gonna give it a shot. I think everybody I’ve talked to is probably gonna give it a shot,” Ken Beaver III, a fan, said.

However, the odds of randomly picking every winner of each March Madness match-up is about 1 in 9 quintillion – that’s a 19-digit number.

5 rules for filling out your bracket

“This is the most wide-open tournament in several years,” Professor Wayne Winston, with the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business, said.

Winston is one of the fathers of basketball analytics. His number-crunching methods helped his former student, NBA owner Mark Cuban, lead his Dallas Mavericks to an NBA championship in 2011.

“I think Iowa/Tennessee-winner plays UMass in the first round. I think the Iowa/Tennessee-winner will win,” he said. “Pittsburg, Colorado – I would tell your viewers I would pick Pittsburg over Colorado as a strong upset.”

As for local favorites Texas Southern and Stephen F. Austin, the UH professor’s numbers predict defeat in the first round. And who will win it all?

“Arizona is my pick,” he said.

So get going on your brackets and try for that $1 billion.

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“I actually just entered in today to see if I could earn, hey, random, luck of the draw,” Winston said.

The chances of picking a perfect bracket are the same as flipping a coin and getting heads 37 times in a row.

What does Professor Winston's bracket look like? Click here to see!