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1 in 9,200,000,000,000,000,000

I figured out what the Madness is: filling out an NCAA bracket.

Edited by Tiffany Villigan

Well, it's that time of year again. The time for anger, frustration and despair of filling out an NCAA bracket. The past few years I've said I wouldn't fill one out, but then every Thursday morning before the tournament starts, I fold and quickly fill one out. At least this is better than my old method, which was to study for hours, keeping track of trends, filling out about 9-10 brackets, indexed for different probabilities, and inevitably most of them would collapse and I'd be lucky if I got 2 of the 4 Final Four picks.

So I thought by hurriedly filling out only one bracket I'd at least limit wasting my time. Now the pressure is really on with Warren Buffett's Billion Dollar Challenge. The pressure and the tons of texts I'll probably end up getting from Quicken Loans illustrates the Madness part of March Madness. The only thing that makes me feel somewhat better is that the odds on filling out a perfect bracket is 9.2 quintillion to 1. A quintillion is 1 followed by 18 zeros. For that large a number, mathematically it would be easier to win the Powerball and Mega Millions back-to-back while getting struck by lightning on your way to redeem the tickets. According to, in the 7 years they've had their Bracket Challenge, only 1 person out of the millions of brackets submitted got the opening round of games correct, and that still only gets you halfway there.

Hearing all of these numbers makes me feel a lot better about my recent choices. Last year I picked down to the Sweet 16, and then let a coin flip do the rest of the games. I mean, how else do you have Montana in your Final Four? So here's a little help on filling out your bracket (keyword is little).

Sonics Guy's Top 3 Rules for Bracket Success:

1) No #16 seed has defeated a #1 seed. Have all the #1s win the first game (already 6% to a perfect bracket).

2) Upset Alert! #5 seeds defeat #12 seeds only 65% of the time. It's a good idea to have at least one #12 seed make the round of 32.

3) You're NOT going to fill out a perfect bracket anyway, so just have fun with it. But if you do win the billion dollars, be sure to help Chris buy a team.