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Bracketology: What are the odds of picking a perfect March Madness bracket?

The deadline to have yours filled out is March 16 for the men’s tournament and March 17 for the women’s. Predicting that perfect bracket? That’s highly unlikely.

HOUSTON — With Selection Sunday here, it’s time to start thinking about your March Madness bracket.

The deadline to have yours filled out is March 16 for the men’s tournament and March 17 for the women’s.  Predicting that perfect bracket? That’s highly unlikely.

The time of year when bracket betting becomes everyone’s sport, Wallet Hub says 80 million brackets are completed each year.  The average bet on those brackets – is $60.

An estimated $10 billion will be wagered on the Big Dance, $4 billion dollars illegally.

And because the average worker spends about six hours watching the games and likely checking those brackets, Wallet Hub says distracted employees cost businesses about $16.3 billion per year.

And while you may think you’re making the most accurate selections and that perfect bracket is a mere 63 games away, the odds of you filling out that perfect bracket are actually slim to none. 

If you need a number, though, your odds are one in 9.2 quintillion. Yes – quintillion.

“I have never heard of anyone getting it,” Cathy Poliak, a data science professor with the University of Houston. “Someone has been close.”

Poliak breaks down the math. 

“So in each game, there’s two possible outcomes,” she said. “And each game is two times two times two times two, so you actually have 2 to the 63rd.”

If you remember anything in school, that’s called an exponent. Your odds are 1 out of 2 to the power of 63. 

To put that in perspective, you have a better chance on not only winning the lottery, but better chances of winning back to back lotteries than predicting a perfect bracket.

Need a little more? Researchers at the University of Hawaii say there are 7.5 quintillion grains of sand on earth.  If they picked one grain of sand, the odds of you picking that same grain of sand are better odds than you getting the perfect bracket.

But for you sports fans, here’s some good news. If you know anything about basketball, your odds do get a little better.  And I mean, a little.

Then, they’re only one in 120.2 billion. So go ahead, try your luck because you may never know.

KHOU 11 Bracket Challenge

It’s nearly time!  Soon, people from around the country will be filling out their brackets as 64 of the best NCAA basketball teams head to the national tournament to crown a champion.

This year, if you play your brackets right, you could win big! That’s because we’re giving away a Sony 55” Google TV, plus a mattress from Texas Mattress Makers in our KHOU 11 Bracket Challenge.

All you have to do is fill out your brackets between when the field of 64 is set on March 12 through about 15 minutes before the tipoff of the first game on March 16.

Fill out your brackets here starting on March 12!

Before You Leave, Check This Out