Has there ever been a perfect March Madness bracket?

An Ohio man is noted for having the longest run of a perfect NCAA Tournament bracket.
NCAA March Madness basketball.
Posted at 9:20 AM, Mar 16, 2023

Although there are officially 67 games as part of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, brackets are generally filled out for 63 games. 

Despite millions of attempts over the years, no one has ever come close to filling out a perfect bracket, according to the NCAA. The league says the closest verified attempt at a perfect bracket came in 2019 when Gregg Nigl of Columbus, Ohio, correctly picked the first 49 games. 

His bid at a perfect bracket ended at Game No. 50 when No. 2-seed Tennessee lost to No. 3-seed Purdue in the Sweet 16. Nigl’s bracket survived the opening weekend of 32 first-round games and 16 second-round games. 

The NCAA said it combed through bracket contests dating back to the 1980s in pursuit of finding the best results. 

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The last two years, the last perfect brackets were busted on the second day of the tournament. 

In 2018, there were 25 perfect brackets snapped at Game 29 when No. 16-seed UMBC pulled off the biggest upset in tournament history, defeating No. 1-seed Virginia. It was the first time a 16 seed knocked off a 1 seed. 

The NCAA calculated the odds of completing a perfect bracket. It said if you considered every game a 50/50 toss-up, the odds would be 1 in 9.2 quintillion. But most games aren’t exactly 50/50 toss-ups. For instance, the 1 seed has a better than 99% chance of defeating a 16 seed. But an 8 seed playing a 9 seed would be close to a 50/50 toss-up. 

So given some games have better odds than others, the NCAA calculated the odds of someone knowledgeable at basketball completing a perfect bracket at 1 in 120.2 billion.