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Madness, Math & the Magic Eight Ball

We have 14 folks in our Yahoo Duran’s Madness NCAA Pool. At five bucks a pop, I stand a chance to win $70. Course, my hopes of submitting a perfect score were dashed the first day when #7 Cal tanked against #10 Maryland. Oh well.  When asked about the possibilities of someone filling out a perfect NCAA bracket, Dr. Math’s computations go like this:

Since there are 63 games to be played, and you have two choices at each stage in your bracket, there are 2^63 different ways to fill out the bracket.

2^63 = 9,223,372,036,854,775,808

That’s more than nine quintillion possibilities.

Is that nine quintillion to 1? Okay, so a perfect score is out of the question. New strategy.

With the points doubling per round —  the Final Four (at 8 points each), the Finals (at 16 points each), and the Championship Team (at 32 points) — concentrating on these games rather than the First Round Cleveland State vs. Wake Forest type matchups (oh, I lost that one too!),  seems like a better strategy.

So, after diligent thought, professional consultation (i.e., the ESPN Experts), and painstaking number crunching, I’ve got Louisville, Memphis, Pitt and NC in my Final Four with Louisville and NC in the Finals, and the Cardinals prevailing. Okay, so those picks are pretty conventional.They’re also worth a whopping 96 points!

But one last step was necessary.  I consulted The Magic 8 Ball and posed this magic-8-ballsimple question:


As you can see, the answer was less than heartening. Oh well, what does luck and superstition have to do with winning anyway? Go Louisville!

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Nicole March 21, 2009, 9:40 AM

    For a second, I lost my concentration and thought you were compiling Obama’s national debt.

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