On the Billion Dollar Bracket

by Matthew Stollak on Monday, March 17, 2014

Its my favorite week of the year....spring break combined with what should be national days off - the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday and Friday.

I'm sure many of you are researching heavily trying to put together your winning bracket.  Others are going to adopt a "Go By The Gut" approach.

Every year many sites sponsor a prize for the top bracket.  This year is different.  Quicken Loans, in conjunction with Warren Buffet, are offering a $1 billion prize (If you win, you can take $25 million a year for 40 years or a $500 million check right away) if you are able to put together a perfect bracket.  That means one has to pick all 32 opening round games correct, all Sweet 16 games, the Elite 8, the Final Four, and the championship game - 63 games in all.

Is Buffett taking a risk?

The odds of putting together a perfect bracket are 1:9,223,372,036,854,775,808 (9 quintillion to 1).  To win the $400 MegaMillions jackpot is just a mere 1 in about 258.9 million.

Most (if not all) brackets will be finished by 6 p.m. on Friday.

But, let's say the truly unlikely happens and one gets to the National Championship game with his/her perfect bracket intact?

Buffett says he isn't worried about individuals fixing the games. 

However, if $500 million was on the line:
  1. How do you not hedge (i.e. if you pick MSU to win it all against Michigan) by placing a bet on Michigan just in case?  Would your mortgage your house?   What kind of loan could you possibly get to bet against your pick (just to be safe)?  1 million? 5 million? 10 million? More?
  2. Would you offer every player on Michigan several million dollars to throw the game?
I'd like to see someone get to that point just to see what kind of scrutiny and pressure would be put on that result.

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