Home Men's Basketball March Madness: a Look into the (Im)perfect Bracket

March Madness: a Look into the (Im)perfect Bracket


Written by Kylie Wagner


The most exciting month for college basketball is about to start, the NCAA tournament. With Selection Sunday behind us, we have a group of 68 teams.

This year there are 4 clear favorites to make the final 4/ national championship. Even though there have been a lot of upsets, especially in conference tournaments, there have been 3 clear terms at the top most of the year. (Purdue, UNC, UConn, and Houston)


One notable team to make the tournament is NC State, who fought their way in by earning their title as 2024 ACC Tournament Champions. Before this win, it was still being determined if the team would even make it into the Big Dance.


“I can’t even put it into words right now,” said Raleigh native DJ Horne, who had 29 points against UNC. “Just a week ago, it was looking like our season was about to be over, and here we are now, man, on top of the world.”(The Fayetteville Observer)


Fans are ready and excited for the Madness to start and are working on their brackets, but let’s look into some science and history behind these brackets.


Every year when March rolls around fans fill out their brackets and think “What if I make a perfect bracket!”. Although many think this, it has never happened in the history of the NCAA tournament. The chances of making a perfect bracket are nearly impossible. The odds are around 1 in 120 billion if you know a little about basketball and don’t just guess for fun.


The low chances of winning also allude to all the potential upsets. In 2023 number 16 Fairleigh Dickinson beat number 1 Purdue. This also happened in 2018 when number 16 UMBC defeated number 1 Virginia. Many people don’t guess these game outcomes and this messes up their entire bracket.


With 68 teams there are many unique brackets made throughout the United States. It is estimated that around 70 million brackets are submitted/filled out each year. Although there are this many brackets, it is estimated that 40 million people take part in predicting the tournament. Typically people make two different brackets to have better odds. 


The what is believed to be the first bracket contest was in 1977 which had 88 people participate. Now, millions are participating and some are winning big money. The 1977 bracket competition had a $10 pool, now there are prize pots with thousands to millions of dollars to win. 


We are excited for the games to start and see who comes out with a close or perfect bracket this year. Maybe 2024 will be the first year in history someone guesses a perfect March Madness bracket!