Underneath the thrills and emotions, the NCAA Tournament is a wonder of mathematics.
We all fantasize about getting that perfect bracket, but the reality is that there are more than 9.2 quintillion ways a 64-team bracket can shake out, and we’re supposed to find the one answer somewhere in there. This year, the closest anyone officially got was 39 games picked correctly before an error.
Per Mike Benzie of NCAA.com, a Yahoo! bracket lasted seven games into the tournament’s second round before incorrectly picking Iowa State to beat Purdue Saturday night. That means it called Wisconsin beating top overall seed Villanova and No. 11 seed Xavier reaching the Sweet 16 … after making no errors in the first round.
Of course, even if Iowa State had won, the bracket would have busted on the first game of Sunday due to Michigan’s upset win against No. 2 seed Louisville in the Midwest Region. What might be more interesting to certain fans in the Big Ten is who this very accurate bracket predicted to win the national title: Wisconsin.
Here’s the quick explanation from Benzie on how all this worked and a link to the longest-lasting perfect bracket:
Tracking six major games at NCAA.com, Bleacher Report, CBS, ESPN, Fox Sports and Yahoo!, one bracket remained perfect through 39 games before busting in the final matchup Saturday night, when Purdue beat Iowa State. Here’s a closer look at that winning bracket. That’s the longest known recorded and verified streak (that we could find) to open a tournament.