9,223,372,036,854,775,808 possible ncaa march madness brackets

The odds of a perfect NCAA bracket are slim, 9.2+ quintillion (2^63) to one.

Of course, not all brackets are equally likely.  For example, the likelihood of, say, a 16th seed beating a number 1 seed is quite low.  In fact, it has never happened.  So if you’re filling out a bracket, then sticking with the extant seedings might be a solid way to go.  Here’s a table that shows the seed of the winners since 1985.

For more, computer scientist Sheldon Jacobson (University of Illinois) maintains a web site, Bracket Odds, with all kinds of bracketology calculators, trivia and statistics.  Here’s a short piece on (pdf) “March Madness Math.”

As an aside —- schools represented by orgtheory bloggers did quite well in the tournament seeding: Duke (30-4) received a #1 seed, Notre Dame (26-6) a #2 seed, and BYU (30-4) a #3 seed.

Written by teppo

March 14, 2011 at 6:12 am

2 Responses

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  1. And Indiana?



    March 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm

  2. When did all of the great Indiana basketball players start becoming Boilermakers instead of Hoosiers? It’s pretty amazing just how far that program has fallen in prestige.

    As for Northwestern, we’ve never even been to the tourney. Not once.

    BYU is the school that’s been in the tourney the most times without ever making a Final Four appearance. I had high hopes this was the year they would break that streak, but, you know, stuff happens.


    brayden king

    March 14, 2011 at 2:10 pm

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