You are not going to win

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Alyssa Synakowski @synakowsk

The madness of March is drawing to a close with teams set to play in the Final Four this Saturday.

I love basketball with a passion and watch as many games as possible, but I have lost all excitement in filling out brackets. What is the point? The likelihood of getting a perfect bracket is slim to none.

If you fill out a bracket any given year there is a one in 9.2 quintillion chance in picking the correct outcome of 63 games.

Brackets are built to be busted. There is only four sure picks each year: since 1985, when the tournament first expanded to 64 teams, no 16th seed has ever beaten a 1st seed in the round of 64.

The tournament has been expanded to 68 teams since the 2011 tournament but that fact remains true.

Only 18,741 of the 11 million-plus entries in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge picked all 16 Thursday games correctly. Depending on how you look at things that is either .17% of all entries are correct or 99.83% of brackets have busted.

The number of perfect brackets fell to just 2,185 after No. 14 Mercer upset No. 3 Duke the following day.

More people than ever filled out bracket for the 2014 tournament in hopes of winning the paired-up team Quicken Loans-Warren Buffet’s $1 billion challenge but the prize money was always a hoax.

Buffett told the Los Angeles Times that if someone does get to the Final Four with 60 out of 60 correct, he would probably try to buy them out before they won it all.

“I’m not sure Quicken would let me do that,” Buffett told’s Rick Reilly, but then proceeds as if he’s pretty sure he could. “If I offered you $100 million to call off the bet, I bet you’d take it.”

Buffet is actually overpaying with the $100 million. That L.A. Times piece notes, “Most people would have a very hard time turning down $10 million when there was a chance they could get nothing.”

The point remains, create a perfect bracket or bust on the first day: no one is winning $1 billion.

With the odds not in my favor, I decided to fill out a bracket anyways. Why do it? Well, someone was sitting at my kitchen table on my computer filling out brackets that he had already registered for and it required no effort on my part.

I used to fill out brackets religiously every year with one bracket that I felt could win and one bracket that always had Duke winning. There are too many upsets now to ever really pick the winner and Duke has since bought into the one-and-done player system so neither of those brackets ever wins in competitions.

I understand that many people find filling out brackets as an opportunity to be competitive with friends, family, and coworkers because it could bring them all together.

Personally, March Madness starts to annoy me though when so many people that do not regularly watch basketball pretend that it is their favorite thing in the world for two and a half weeks and jump on the bandwagon of any winning, Cinderella team.

Losing is never fun and you never win against the masses who fill in brackets that are built to bust.