You’re not going to pick a perfect NCAA bracket for March Madness. That’s probably something you already know in the back of your mind, but maybe you’ve never been shown the numbers that will explain just how pitiful your chances are. Sure, the big sports sites will try and convince you it can be done and offer prizes for anyone that can do it. But mathematicians put the odds of a perfect NCAA bracket between 1 in 128 billion to 1 in 2.4 trillion, depending on the method you use. So we at The Renaissance Fan felt it would be a public service to set your expectations at a manageable level by describing some scenarios that are more likely to happen to you than picking a perfect NCAA bracket:
- You win a coin flip three times in a row, then roll a Yahtzee on your first try, then get dealt a royal flush on your first hand. Odds: 1 in 67 billion.
- You are McGyver, and you are looking at a bomb with three colored wires. Clipping one of these wires disarms the bomb while the other two detonate it instantly. But you have no idea which one to clip and time is running out! You take out your ever-trusty pocket knife and just pick a random wire. Success! You then get away with that same stunt 22 more times over the course of 7 incredible seasons. Odds: 1 in 94 billion.
- You are at a baseball game sitting along the first base line. There are 30,000 people in attendance. A batter fouls off a pitch that arcs into the sky and lands right in your hands! You go to three more games that summer and catch a foul ball every single time. Odds: 1 in 100 billion.
- You’re on Facebook one day, and out of nowhere you get a PM. It’s Beyonce. She needs a new personal assistant and decided to randomly pick one of the 156 million US Facebook users to offer the job to. She asks only one question: “You’re a rightie, aren’t you?”. She’d just bought six new pairs of scissors to be used by her eventual assistant, and they are all right-handed. But, you are left handed. The job offer is revoked. Odds: 1 in 1.6 billion.
- Antiques Roadshow is coming to your town! You know nothing about antiques but grab a random old lamp from your garage and bring it down to be appraised anyhow. Turns out it’s worth over $100,000! You go back home and grab a pickle dish to try again. Also worth over $100,000! Odds: 1 in 36 billion.
- You bowl a perfect game. Hurray! On your way out to your car to leave the bowling alley you are struck and killed by a part that fell off an airplane. Odds: 1 in 115 billion.
- You were picked to try a half-court shot during a break at a college basketball game. You make it! They offer you the prize money or the chance to go double-or-nothing. You double down. You make it again! Then double down and then make it three more times. They ask if you want try again, so you do, and make it again! Six in a row from half-court! They ask if you want to try one more time. You say “Sure!” and proceed to miss. Odds: 1 in 15.6 billion.
- Despite no genetic predisposition for it, you have a son born with 11 toes. Then a daughter with 11 fingers. Then another daughter with 11 toes. Then another son with 11 fingers. Odds: 1 in 62 billion.
- Both your best friends die in separate auto-erotic asphyxiation related incidents. Odds: 1 in 90 billion (unless a lot of your friends are really into that, in which case the odds of this happening might be higher).
- Your favorite MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, and WNBA teams all win championships this year. As do your favorite MLS and Arena Football League team (if we allow ourselves to pretend that people have favorite arena football teams). And what the hell, on top of that, whoever you like in The Amazing Race wins as well. Odds: 1 in 27 billion.
All of these far-fetched scenarios are still more likely than you sitting down and filling out a perfect NCAA bracket. So good luck with your picks and enjoy life in the realm of reality!