Perfect Bracket? Pffftttt. Dream On, Suckers


So Warren Buffet and Dan Gilbert are teaming up to give you, me, your mom, and everyone else a chance to win a cool BILLION if we pick the perfect bracket.


Like I said repeatedly: it would be easier to throw a quarter and land it on the moon. Flatfooted.

The true odds, the mathematical nerd odds: 9.2 QUINTILLION to 1.

Okay, how to “- illions” work again?


Each rung of the “Illion Ladder” is 1000 of the previous one. Which means, if you were to have the basketball genius of Jay Bilas, the clairvoyance of The Amazing Kreskin, and the entire ChiCom government forcing all 1 billion of its citizens to fill out a bracket…. then your chances drop down to as low as….


And yet, Buffet is still worried. About one thing. Hackers. And not without good reason.

1. This won’t be his secretary holding and red-pen grading a stack of some 15 billion paper brackets. You can’t hack paper.
2. Somebody hacked Mt. Gox and they were supposed to have IRON CLAD anti-hackable infrastructure.

Then there’s this little story from a few years back, which you may well remember. A bunch of Drexel University students found out how to hack into the OTB racing computers…. and… well.. BOOM!

Instant millionaires. Then… soon enough… Jail.

One is a college dropout turned computer ace; the other is the former mayor of New York and of late a well-paid symbol of integrity. But today the two shared the spotlight: Chris Harn for pleading guilty to fixing the Breeders’ Cup pick six last month, Rudolph W. Giuliani for promising to come up with security to make horse racing’s wagering systems impenetrable.

In Federal District Court this morning, Harn stood before Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith and recited how as a senior programmer at Autotote, a company that processes horse racing wagers, he used his work computer to rig three sets of bets — including the $3 million Breeders’ Cup pick-six payoff — made on the accounts of two of his former Drexel University fraternity brothers, his co-defendants.

”I placed a bet and later modified it so it would win,” Harn said.

He also acknowledged that he had masterminded and carried out a more grinding scheme along with the same two men of counterfeiting uncashed betting tickets and vouchers that netted more than $92,500 over the past year.

So yeah, Warren Buffet SHOULD be worried. Although unlike the Breeder’s Cup scam, any entries that somehow tiptoe through perfection after just the first TWO ROUNDS, can be scrutinized and “locked in” to their full bracket.

The chances of somebody hacking the computers, and delivering the impossible perfect bracket are infinitesimally slim. But still, slightly better than 9.2 quintillion-to-one.

Let the Madness Begin. Let’s all hope we just win our own office pool.


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Steve Czaban is a 25 year sports radio veteran, who hosts an afternoon drive show in Washington D.C. "Czabe" also writes and edits his own commentaries for and other on-line and print publications. He can be reached at


  1. While it is true that the odds are indeed long for getting a perfect bracket, the odds are not quite what you stated. That would only be true if each game had an equal chance of going one way or the other (a coin flip, if you will). That is decidedly not the case. This is why we have seeding, and why there are such things as “upsets.” It is much more likely that a 1 seed will beat a 16 seed than the reverse, so you have to give weight to that. It’s impossible to truly calculate odds when human factors are considered, though. Any player could have a bad day or an outstanding on, throwing the whole thing off. In any event, it’s more fun than buying a lottery ticket!


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