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Math Says Picking a Perfect Bracket Is Virtually Impossible

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If you’re one of the millions of people agonizing over how to pick your bracket for the upcoming NCAA Tournament, here’s some advice: don’t sweat it.

That’s because your bracket will bust. At some point, it will happen. Whether you’ve got a 16-seed going to the Sweet 16 or a 5-seed making the Elite Eight, at some point, some team is going to hurt your chances in some way, shape or form. That’s a lot of “some” for a thing that will “definitely” happen.

To get an idea just how difficult picking a bracket is, watch the above video with DePaul University math professor Jeff Bergen, who sheds a lot of light on the matter. And if you think watching your pick for national champion lose in the second round is heartbreaking, then prepare to be devastated to know that the odds of picking a perfect bracket is one-in-9.2 quintillion. Yes, quintillion, so even if you think you’re being smart by picking a few brackets to increase the chances you’ll win your pool, the sad reality is you’re still going to be far off.

It doesn’t matter, anyway, because we all know that woman in your office who doesn’t know a basketball from a golf ball is going to win the pool. It just always seems to feel that way, right?

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