Ann Arbor News cites odds of perfect bracket, Webmaster cringes
SALINE, MICHIGAN MARCH 18, 2006 The March 16, 2006 Ann Arbor News published a front page piece featuring local Saline resident and ESPN.com NCAA Tournament statistical guru Pete Tiernan. Mr. Tiernan has poured over NCAA tourney data for years and plugged it into his old school Apple PC. With a flick of the mouse, he has come up with all kinds of statistical trends that can be used to predict how the tournament field will fare.
One troubling item in the Ann Arbor News piece: one of the stats under a table they called ‘Tiernan’s Tips’ said that “The chance of correctly filling out an entire tournament bracket is 1 in 65,636.”
This was instantly troubling. For starters, I’ve been in the ESPN.com NCAA hoops tournament pool each year that attracts several million contestants and I don’t recall anyone ever getting it perfect. Last year’s winner on ESPN.com got 55 out of a possible 63. This 65,000 to 1 figure couldn’t possibly be correct. I thought it over, prayed on it, and decided to go to the source.
MVictors.com contacted Tiernan, who immediately replied and stated that figure was incorrect. He didn’t give me an exact figure, but cited that if you treated each game as a 50/50 prop, the numbers would come to 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808.