Can You Get a Perfect March Madness Bracket This Season?
You’re more likely to date a supermodel, become a president of the United States, or even win the lottery than score a perfect March Madness bracket. According to the NCAA, your odds of getting every game right are 1 in 9.2 quintillion — a billion billions, 9.2 with… 18 zeros. In the true sportsman-like spirit, it doesn’t stop over 36 million people from filling it in every year.
In the history of NCAA, no one has ever got a perfect bracket. A few people came close, but the NCAA says that even then the highest record of correct predictions is only 49. If you’re an optimist, you probably read that your odds of winning aren’t zero. We’ll share the latest bracket predictions and tips on how to increase your chances of getting as close to perfect as possible.
Pssst… If you’re only just discovering March Madness, don’t worry. We have a glossary of key terms you need to sound like a seasoned basketball fan.
What Are March Madness Bracket Predictions?
The Bracket Challenge is an official NCAA game developed for March Madness fans to actively participate in the tournament. Though you don’t get to shoot for the hoops, you’re in for a large monetary reward, and sometimes tickets to the next year’s tournament.
Predictions for the 2023 tournament are coming in hot and they change almost daily. Check out who to bet on this time!
|March Madness Stage||Predictions|
|Last Four In||Nevada Wolf Pack
Mississippi State Bulldogs
|First Four Out||Charleston Cougars
North Carolina Tar Heels
New Mexico Lobos
Utah State Aggies
|Sweet 16||Florida Atlantic Owls
San Diego State Aztecs
Kansas State Wildcats
Kent State Golden Flashes
Saint Mary’s Gaels
|Elite Eight||Alabama Crimson Tide
Kansas State Wildcats
|Final Four||Alabama Crimson Tide
Kansas State Wildcats
|Winner||Alabama Crimson Tide|
|Player of the Year||Zach Edey, Purdue|
Why Is The March Madness Bracket So Important?
Since its start in 1996, bracketology has become an inseparable part of March Madness. Millions of basketball fans jump through the hoops to one-up each other’s predictions. All of a sudden, everyone is a bracketology expert of the same caliber as Joe Lunardi. But why?
The initial answer seems obvious. Filling in brackets gives you stakes in all March Madness games. Every victory can mean your loss and vice versa. You’re no longer just a passive spectator, you get to get on the court with the basketball players. Many people even feel a sense of ownership over their favorite teams, making you more likely to watch NCAA March Madness to the end.
March Madness cultivates the in-group concept, allowing everyone to feel a part of something bigger without any requirements; apart from having fun, that is. Social connectivity is a fundamental human trait, but combined with some friendly competition, it’s a great opportunity to build stronger relationships.
Better yet, brackets are easy to understand, making them super accessible. You get a simple tree diagram to fill in with 68 teams. You could research season statistics, compare colleges, and play with probability or pick teams based solely on their mascots or colors. No prior basketball knowledge required!
The NCAA tournament and its brackets are also easily consumable. March Madness comes in fast and it’s over before you know it. The intensity of it is a great way to suppress many life stressors. Ask anyone around you and they’ll all tell you the same thing — nothing else matters when college basketball is on.
Is the Perfect March Madness Bracket Even Possible?
Assuming each team has a 50:50 chance of winning, your odds of getting a perfect bracket are 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 or 1 in 9.2 quintillion for short. If you need help visualizing it, think about all the grains of sand in the world. Finding it difficult? So do I, but experts say it’s about the same amount.
Luckily for you, NCAA games aren’t exactly 50:50. The games’ outcome depends on competing teams’ road record, injuries, experience, current players, and so much more. Knowing the current basketball league boosts your odds of getting a perfect bracket to 1 in 120.2 billion.
So, technically speaking, you can get a perfect March Madness bracket. But it’s like telling your child they’ll definitely become a top movie star. And even then you’d be more likely to be right than get the perfect record.
Most Accurate Bracket Pickers to Date
When it comes to brackets, everyone seems to think they’re experts. Since just one game could make or break your bracket, make sure to listen only to those with proven experience.
Starting with the bracketology father himself, Joe Lunardi is a top March Madness bracketologist. Love him or hate him, his predictions are the most accurate. In 2022, Lunardi got almost the entire field correct with 67 out of 68 guesses right. His career is focused entirely on brackets, updating his latest predictions, and making ESPN the go-to for the latest information.
Lukas Harkins follows a close second. The Heat Check bracketologist regularly scores high predictions and remains a top expert in the Bracket Matrix average. His brackets are a mathematical and statistical work of art, making him one of the most consistent bracketologists.
March Madness wouldn’t be complete without checking Brad Evans’ predictions either. With experience in fantasy football and basketball, Brad Evans knows how far a team can go before being pushed out. He’s definitely one of the few trustworthy options on Twitter you should consult before Selection Sunday.
Handy Tips to Create a Perfect March Madness Bracket — Or As Close to Perfect As It Gets
The challenge seems to be simple. Use a bracket to pick a winner for all 67 March Madness games. However, once you start filling it in, it can very quickly become a mess of mathematical equations, statistics, and sleepless nights. Experts share some tips on how you can find a method to this madness.
Choose the Best
It’s no secret that top-performing teams usually go quite far in the tournament. NCAA reports No. 1 seeds have won almost 80% of NCAA games since 1985 when the tournament expanded to 64 teams. Your best bet is to place a 1 seed to win the whole thing with another 1 seed, a 2 seed, and a 3 seed for Final Four.
Base Your Bets on Team Leaders
Once you have the top seeds, the next step is to analyze their experienced players. These are the not-so-hidden gems most teams have. This year, betting experts, such as The Sporting News, predict Zach Edey to be the most notable player, but he’s not the only one worth looking at. Oscar Tshiebwe, Drew Timmie, Hunter Dickinson, and Caleb Love are other notable names, even if their teams aren’t predicted to win.
Don’t Forget About the Bottom Seeds
Any seasoned bracketologist will tell you it’s common for 12 or 11 seeds to beat 4 or 5 seeds. It happens at least once every season. Lower seeds owe this success to the fact they often don’t actually play against top-rated teams until Sweet 16. The Sporting News warns 15 seeds have become a cause of many epic upsets, especially in recent years — so watch out for the teams you bet to go out first.
Sprinkle Luck on “Unlucky” Teams
Sport is largely based on skill, but it doesn’t mean luck has no part in it. Even the best teams go through low streaks, but it doesn’t mean they can’t turn it around at any point. Many low-seeded teams get unlucky with their rating due to rough pre-season games. However, they can still bust your bracket if you don’t check how they performed in previous seasons.
Don’t Let Dark Horses Bust Your Bracket
Every year, you always get a team or two everyone thinks will go out in the first game. Yet, they go all the way to Sweet 16 or Elite Eight, sending thousands of people into a frenzy. Though it’s almost impossible to predict who it’s going to be, you simply have to look at the teams predicted to leave the tournament early and put them in your bracket in higher stages. Just in case.
What Is the Best March Madness Bracket To Date?
Greg Nigl from Columbus, Ohio, made history when his bracket predicted 49 games in 2019, beating the previous record of 39 games in 2017. He also became the first person to get every game right up until Sweet 16. Nigl’s luck ran out when 3-seed Purdue won against 2-seed Tennessee 99-94.
It’s possible someone somewhere holds a higher record though. After 30 years of paper and online bracket forms, verifying every entry is simply unfeasible. However, if anyone got a perfect bracket, they’d probably come forward straight away.
March Madness Glossary: Key Terms to Learn Before Filling In a Bracket
If you’re new to the scene, but want to participate in March Madness conversations happening right now, learn some key terminology. You’ll shine among your office colleagues in no time.
|March Madness Term||Definition|
|At-large bid||An invitation to participate in March Madness given to 36 teams who didn’t win their respective conference tournaments but impressed the Selection Committee with their performance.|
|Automatic bid||An invitation to participate in March Madness automatically given to 32 teams who win their respective conference tournaments.|
|Bracket||An official schedule of March Madness games presented in the form of a tree diagram. OR An online or paper form used by NCAA fans to fill in their March Madness predictions and guesses for each round.|
|Bracketology||The practice of analyzing past and present games, predicting seeds, and determining NCAA schedules before it’s announced.|
|Bracket Buster||A game ruining your bracket because it doesn’t go as you predicted. Can make you say things HR doesn’t want to hear.|
|Bubble Teams||Basketball teams with a possibility of getting selected during at-large bids. Facilitates endless hours of discussion.|
|Buzzer Beater||A final shot scored as the buzzer signalizes the end of a quarter or a game. Often results in a shooter’s team victory.|
|Cinderella||A team, usually low seed, performing better than expected. Very often, it becomes a bracket buster.|
|Conferences||Team groups based on geographical location, like PAC-12, Sun Belt, Missouri Valley, and Big 12.|
|Elite Eight||Teams who make it to the final eight that are still gunning for the winning title.|
|First Four||The initial round of March Madness where the first four teams at large and the first four automatic qualifiers play against each other.|
|First Four Out||The first four teams to lose and leave the competition.|
|Final Four||The last four teams, one from each region, who compete for the trophy.|
|Region||Refers to the East, West, Midwest, and South regions March Madness teams represent.|
|Seed||A number (between 1-16) assigned to each team to determine where it’s ranked in its region.|
|Selection Sunday||The Sunday before the First Four games when the Selection Committee announces which Division I teams will compete in the tournament.|
|Sweet 16||The third round of March Madness, with 16 teams left in the tournament.|
|The Big Dance||A popular March Madness nickname, rooted in fashion and superstition. First used by Al McGuire, Golden Eagle’s coach, who religiously wore a blue blazer to all games, which became known as his lucky outfit. He famously said, “You gotta wear the blue blazer when you go to the big dance.” The term stuck shortly after.|
Beat the Odds in the 2023 March Madness Tournament
The odds may not be in your favor, but they’re also not zero. At the very least, filling in the bracket is a fun way to participate in March Madness. At most, it could win you millions of dollars. And in between, it cultivates positive relationships between family members, friends, and even strangers.
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Alabama and Houston go head to head in predictions for the March Madness 2023 winner. Their odds change every day, with both teams having almost equal chances to get the trophy. Purdue and Kansas are also predicted to be in the Final Four, but they’re spoken of in terms of runner-ups rather than winners.
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The March Madness bracket opens on Selection Sunday, giving you a week to fill in your predictions. In 2023, this falls on March 12. The men’s NCAA bracket teams will be announced at 6pm ET on CBS, so set your alarms to not miss it.
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You have a lot of bracketologists to choose from, but Joe Lunardi, Lucas Harkins, and Brad Evans consistently prove to be the most accurate. They have their own bracketology sections on ESPN, Heat Check CBB, and Yahoo! Sports respectively where they present updated predictions and statistics.
Public networks might block the NCAA bracket and stop you from updating your choices. This could be bracket-breaking if you can’t change your predictions last minute. Luckily, a VPN service can quickly unlock your bracket, saving you unnecessary stress.
The best verifiable bracket streak happened in 2019 when Gren Nigl from Ohio predicted 49 games out of 68. His lucky streak burst during the second Sweet 16 game after Purdue’s victory against Tennessee. This season could be your year though — so buy PIA VPN and easily stream sports like March Madness anywhere you are.