Brackets Busted!


Every year millions of college basketball fans fill out brackets, hoping the picks they made are correct, and end the tournament with a perfect bracket. Unfortunately, the 20 million brackets created for the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship Tournament were all busted in the first round. It began when Maryland beat West Virginia 67 to 65 in the opening round and brought down the percentage of perfect brackets remaining down to 48%, but that wouldn’t stay there for long as the #13 seed in the South Region Furman upset #4 seed Virginia 68 to 67 and brought down the perfect bracket remaining percentage to 10%.

UVA-Furman buzzer beater video: Paladins stun Cavaliers with 3-pointer with  seconds left - DraftKings Nation

Photo Cred: Draft Kings

Then, after 15-seeded Princeton defeated #2-seeded Arizona and diminished brackets to 0.12%, according to the NCAA, 4.13% of bracketologists picked Princeton to upset Arizona. After the first day of the tournament, only 787 brackets were perfect but wouldn’t survive the next day of games. The remaining brackets becoming busted began with Michigan State’s win over USC and lowered the number of brackets to 450. Then the first upset of the day was #11-seeded Pitt beat #6-seeded Iowa St. and dropped the number even lower to just 71 brackets, but that number shrunk to 30 after Creighton held off NC State.

Arizona men's basketball vs. Princeton final score: Wildcats collapse late,  are knocked out in first round by 15th-seeded Tigers - Arizona Desert Swarm

Photo Cred: Arizona Desert Swarm

The final nail in the coffin for the remaining 30 perfect brackets came when FDU became the second #16-seeded team to beat the #1 seed in tournament history after they defeated Purdue. It took only 25 games for every bracket to be busted. People can still say they predicted some of the games correctly, and even the winner of the entire tournament, no one will be able to say they were able to predict the entire tournament. The furthest anyone has gotten with a perfect bracket was the Sweet 16, and it happened four years ago, but his bracket busted after 49 games of the tournament in 2019. Someone once said you could be struck by lightning in a year and then be killed by a shark in your lifetime before you made it to a tournament final with a perfect bracket and then guessed the winner correctly.

March Madness: Fairleigh Dickinson stuns, beating out Purdue : NPR

Photo Cred: NPR

To put the odds of a perfect bracket into numbers, you have a 1 in 9 quintillion chance of having a perfect bracket. If you flip a coin, you have a 1 in 120.2 billion chance of winning. So, it would take someone to not only know about the teams in the tournament but have a ton of luck on their side to have a chance of getting far enough into the tournament where the possibility of having the perfect bracket can begin to creep into their mind. But that is something I or anyone might never get to see in our lifetimes, yet it’s still possible because weirder things have happened because sports are weird sometimes.

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