February is finally over and March is rolling in. For me (A South-Side Chicagoan), this means St. Patty’s Day and March Madness. By now you’ve certainly heard of Warren Buffet’s Billion Dollar Challenge and in the back of your head you’re thinking you’ve got a chance. Well before you go out and buy yourself a couple Bentleys or rent the penthouse at Trump Place in New York, keep these stats in mind before you make the commitment.

You have better odds:

  • For the Cubs to win the World Series in 2014 (66:1)
  • To successfully navigate an asteroid field (3,720:1)
  • To find a four-leaf clover on the first try: (10,000:1)
  • To be struck by lightning: (576,000:1)
  • To become president: (10,000,000:1)


Officially your odds to complete a perfect bracket are 9.2 quintillion to 1 (9,200,000,000,000,000,000:1). Which seems only completely out of reach, but remember, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take! With that, I do have some general guidelines I follow for my brackets (for entertainment value only, of course…).

Some Tips for Success:

Obviously the stakes are high this year — so don’t rush! Take some time to watch a few of the last games, read a some articles online, catch up on top defenses and players to watch. Then, once you feel like you’re up-to-date on this year’s pool of teams, freshen up on these historical bracket statistics:

Don’t rely too heavily on #1 seeds:

  • Only once has the Final Four consisted of all 4 #1 seeds


Championship wins by seed:

  • Seed #1 – 17
  • Seed #2 – 5
  • Seed #3 – 4
  • Seed #4 – 1
  • Seed #5 – 0
  • Seed #6 – 1
  • Seed #7 – 0
  • Seed #8 – 1


Don’t go overboard with upsets picks:

  • A #16 Seed has never won against a #1
  •  7 times – a #15 Seed defeated a #2
  • 17 times –  a #14 Seed defeated a #3
  • 25 times –  a #13 Seed defeated a #4


Stats above reflect tournament data from 1985 and on.
Sources: 1 | 2

Remember the tourney starts March 18 so you have plenty of time to study up. Come crunch time if you still have yet to make your picks there are always these last-resort options for picking your bracket:

  • Coin flips
  • Pull team names out of a hat
  • Or by favorite jersey color


Got any other suggestions for picking a winner?  Let me know…

Best of luck!