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QR in Bracketology

Nathan Grawe
published Mar 21, 2014

It's March Madness time. This year, a few more people may beplaying brackets. With financial backing from Warren Buffet, Quicken Loans is offering billion to anyone who filled out a perfect NCAA bracket. As the USAToday article I've linked to notes, that's not as big a risk for Buffet as it sounds like because there are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 (9 quintillion) different possible brackets. Of course, not all of those are equally likely. Nate Silver and the folks at fivethirtyeight.com have put a lot of effort into picking the games. Silver figures that all of his number crunching dramatically improved his odds of a perfect bracket...to 1 in "7.4 billion". (Actually it is 1 in 7,419,071,319–don't forget those last 19+ million outcomes!)

So, how's it all working out? Not surprisingly, Quicken reports at least 50 people have perfect brackets after the first 16 games. Unfortunately for Nate Silver, he didn't see Dayton beating Ohio State.



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