Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people were anxiously awaiting the release of the brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament. Most were feeling confident, and were perhaps hoping for a bit of luck when they surveyed the 64-team field and filled out their brackets before March Madness kicked off this year. And that’s because Quicken Loans and Warren Buffet partnered up to offer $1 billion to anyone who filled out a perfect bracket.
Some people out there think that picking the winning bracket is easy. With powerhouse teams like Wichita State, Arizona, Louisville, and Kentucky sure to make some noise in the tournament, it’s easy to pick the winners, right? Yeah, not so much actually. Each and every year, there are unexpected upsets and Cinderella teams that come out of nowhere to win a few games. In all honesty, you’d probably have better odds of picking the winning lottery numbers, than you would picking a perfect bracket, but that didn’t deter people from signing up. After all, unlike with the lottery, the Quicken Loans March Madness Perfect Bracket contest was free, and it couldn’t hurt, right? We all like to live a bit, dream big and hope for the best.
Millions of people filled out those brackets. Millions of people were already figuring out how many houses and cars they were going to buy. Millions of people were already figuring out how they’d go about spending a billion dollars. Yet here were are, just a couple of days into March Madness, and there is absolutely nobody left in the running for the billion dollar prize. Yes, you read that right, before the first round of the tournament was even done, not a single contestant remained standing in the Warren Buffet and Quicken Loans billion dollar bracket challenge. As a matter fact, after just the first day of the tournament, a whopping 83% of the people playing had been eliminated from the competition thanks to some very unlikely wins.
After all, who would’ve picked Harvard to beat Cincinnati?! Who would’ve picked Mercer to beat Duke?! Everyone knows Duke, and the Blue Devils crushing little Mercer seemed to be about one of the few sure things in the tournament. But, nope. Mercer went on to win, which cost a lot of people out there a chance to win a billion dollars. We have to wonder… Who’s more hated right about now: Duke for losing what many considered a sure-thing? Or Mercer for winning?
But actually, many people were eliminated from the contest before Duke ever took the floor today. And when Memphis posted a 71-66 win over George Washington University, it wiped out the remaining 3 brackets in the contest. North Dakota State, Dayton, Harvard, Stanford, and of course, Mercer all combined to blow literally everybody’s brackets. Those five teams are pretty much responsible for ensuring that billion dollars stays in Warren Buffet’s bank account.
So far, March Madness has been riddled with upsets up and down the brackets which means that Buffet likely won’t have to part with his money after all. Unless of course, someone just randomly went through and picked names that sounded neat, not knowing anything about the teams, and ended up picking the right ones completely at random– perhaps that’s what one of the 16 people left who still have a shot did when they filled out their brackets. Hmmm, I knew I should have played after all.