The Bracket


When it comes to the post-season in NCAA sports, we typically use terms like “playoff” or “bowl season” to describe the matchups that follow the regular season. Not in college basketball. We don’t call it the March Playoffs or March Tournaments, because this ultra fast-paced shootout collection of clashes has rightfully earned the name Madness. So mad, in fact, the experts say you have a 9.2 quintillion to one shot at a perfect bracket. That’s a 9 with 18 zeros after it.



But year after year, our hopes are high as we fill out our bracket, this time with a better method than the last. Maybe our predictions were based on meticulous calculations of regular season records and winning percentages, or maybe we just jot down the schools who have the cuter mascots. But whatever your method, a March Madness bracket is practically a springtime institution, with pride and endless bragging rights on the line.

7 Fascinating Facts about the Bracket

  • Every year, an estimated 70 million people fill out brackets.

  • No. 12 seeds are the upset kings, having defeated No. 5 seeds 44 times since 1985.

  • At only one point in the current tournament format have all four No. 1 seeds made it to the Final Four.

  • There have only been two years no top seed advanced to the Final Four.

  • Last year, only one bracket entered in ESPN’s bracket challenge survived after the first round of 64 games (out of more than 11 million brackets). Only 0.7% survived after the first day.

  • 1 in 5 American workers have participated in a March Madness office pool.

  • Warren Buffett is offering employees a “lollapalooza” grand prize: if any employee correctly predicts the Sweet Sixteen, he or she will win $1 million every year for life. He’s offering $100k for whomever comes the closest.

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