March Madness: The odds of perfection - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

March Madness: The odds of perfection

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Your bracket is perfect...for now.

The round of 64 in this year's NCAA tournament kicks off Thursday morning, and before those first games kick off, everyone's bracket is unblemished.

But at some point--probably today--something won't go how you thought it would, and your perfect bracket will become just like everyone else's: imperfect.

There's no need to cry over broken brackets, though.  When it comes to perfect brackets, the odds are overwhelmingly against you.

In fact, if you treat every game like a true coin flip, your odds of picking the perfect bracket are 1 in 9.2 quintillion.  That's a 9 with 18 zero's behind it.

But many of you probably know a thing or two about college basketball and this tournament.

For example, you probably know that a 16 seed has never beat a one seed.  Knowledge like that can help push the odds a little more in your favor.

"Those are large numbers, but the problem size is actually smaller, because you can actually start weeding some of those out and say, okay, that is such a low probability that we're not going to worry about it," said Matt Rissler, associate professor of math at Loras College.

Realistically, with knowledge of the tournament, your odds of picking the perfect bracket increase to 1 in 200 billion.  Still not great, but better.

So whether your bracket is on top of your pool or at bottom, Rissler says you shouldn't feel too great or too bad about yourself.  

"It's gambling. It's just like getting your self esteem tied to whether or not that slot machine wins the next time, or whether the next roll of the dice comes up, or the flip of the card playing poker comes up, so it's very similar to that," he said.

Games in the round of 64 kick off Thursday morning.

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