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Warren Buffet’s billion-dollar NCAA bracket challenge

march-madness-2013-elite-8

march-madness-2013-elite-8We all know how difficult it is to pick the perfect March Madness bracket. But after hearing about what Warren Buffet and Dan Gilbert are offering to anybody who can do it, you would be remiss if you at least gave it a shot, never mind the fact that the odds of nailing every single pick are 1 in 9.2 quintillion.

Or if you prefer the exact odds according to DePaul University math professor Jeff Bergen: 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 1.

But Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway and Gilbert’s Quicken Loans are going to make it worth your while after announcing that they would award $1 billion to anyone who fills out a perfect March Madness bracket for the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament.

Should anybody somehow defy the odds – really, really, really ridiculous odds at that – he or she will be paid out $25 million in 40 annual installments. Either that or take the other option of an immediate $500 million in a lump sum payment. Either way, whoever does it is going to be a very, very rich man – or woman. In the event that more than one person can do it, they split the total prize money.

The contest is definitely getting its due attention, in large part because of the prize money involved. But make no mistake, there are fare more probably things in life than picking a perfect bracket. You can pick all the favorites, in which case you’ll have much better odds than the 1-in-9.2 quintillion. Then again, we don’t think 1-in-1 billion qualifies as better odds.

To put further perspective on how impossible picking a perfect bracket is, if every person in the world – man, woman, or child – filled out 10 million brackets EACH – the chance of somebody hitting a perfect bracket is still LESS than 1 percent.

Jay Farmer, president and chief marketing officer of Quicken Loans issued a statement, basically telling us what we already know. This contest, incomprehensibly difficult as it is, should create a ton of buzz, especially with the prize money looming over all of our heads. It’s not the typical $1 million that you see being thrown around in recent years. This is $1 billion. 1 with nine 0′s after it.

But even if you fall short of accomplishing a perfect bracket, take comfort in knowing that Quicken Loans will still award $100,000 each to the 20 brackets that come the closest to the actual results. It’s still easier said than done, but at least it’s something that doesn’t have a ceiling. Just be the most accurate imperfect bracket and you’re heavier on the pockets by a cool $100,000.