No one is safe during March Madness, and nearly every fan of college basketball that filled out a bracket has found that out before the first weekend started.
Before the tournament got underway, multibillionaire Warren Buffett challenged fans to fill out a perfect bracket through the Quicken Loans Bracket Challenge and win $1 billion directly out of his pockets.
Buffett spoke about the contest with ESPN's Rick Reilly:
I don't really care if somebody wins or not. All I'm concerned with is charging the right price. This has been my life. I knew as a young man that if I kept writing one deal after another deal, and charged the right price, in the end, I was going to make money.
But after just one day in the tournament, what started as a pipe dream quickly became just that for millions who submitted their brackets. Just 16 brackets remained perfect at the start of Friday, according to Yahoo's Sean Hamel, per Liz Fields of Good Morning America online.
Following the win for No. 8 Memphis over No. 9 George Washington, the final perfect brackets were busted, according to Yahoo Sports:
Though the contest captured the imagination of many seeking fabulous riches, not one single billion-dollar entry was able to escape the Round of 64 without picking at least one game incorrectly. Memphis' 71-66 win over George Washington eliminated the final three brackets that were eligible to win $1 billion. (Depending on who you ask, the odds of picking a perfect bracket sit somewhere between 1 in 128 billion and 1 in 9.2 quintillion, give or take a few decimal points.)
The assault on perfection, however, started long before Friday night. Upsets by Dayton, Harvard and North Dakota State thinned the herd on Thursday before Mercer's shocker over Duke culled the pack even further. By Friday, after Stanford beat New Mexico, only 16 perfect brackets remained.
As Yahoo points out, the multitude of upsets has taken a toll on brackets throughout the country. With three of the four No. 12 seeds advancing—N.C. State's epic collapse against Saint Louis was the only win for a No. 5 seed—and Mercer pulling the memorable 14 over 3 upset, nearly every sheet was already ripped apart.
Bleacher Report gave updates of the site's perfect brackets throughout the day on Friday until the last one was shattered:
Say goodbye to perfection: There are no perfect brackets left in the B/R Bracket Challenge— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 21, 2014
As for the CBS Sports brackets entered, none was left perfect after 21 games, which was lower than the last two seasons for the site. MikeRedding of WLBZ2 gave his thoughts on the competition after picking Ohio State in his bracket:
With the round of 64 in the NCAA tournament coming to an end, there were no perfect brackets that qualified for Buffett's ultimate prize. But there was still one that remained flawless out there.
Brad Binder of Buffalo Grove, Ill. revealed late Friday night that he still had one bracket intact. Binder's entire bracket can be found here, with the infamous name of "Brad's Breathtaking Bracket."
Binder tweeted about what he called his "Bracket of Destiny" as the final games were playing out during the second round:
Currently the only one in the entire country with a perfect bracket still #bracketofdestiny— Brad Binder (@Brad_Binder_) March 22, 2014
For the love of the bracket guys, did it for the love of the bracket— Brad Binder (@Brad_Binder_) March 22, 2014
LostLetterman.com also shared the bracket after Friday's action with the odds of Binder's unpredictable sheet:
Oh, it's breathtaking for sure. But the question now is: How long will it last? Binder is riding No. 7 Oregon all the way to the Final Four along with both No. 12 Stephen F. Austin and No. 14 Mercer making their way to the Sweet 16.
Can Binder's bracket remain perfect?
With his bracket now public for everyone in the country to watch and scrutinize, the next few days could be very intriguing for Binder and his Twitter account. After the news got out about Binder, his follower count had already reached over 500 in a matter of hours.
The odds are clearly not in his favor, as no person has ever filled out a perfect bracket. But simply making it through the gauntlet of the round of 64—especially with the insanity that has occurred thus far—Binder has accomplished something that no one else in the country was able to do.
The dream is still alive for Binder as the first weekend of the tournament begins. And with the potential for perfection in his grasp, the loss of a Cinderella or Michigan State, his National Champion pick, could be just as devastating for Binder as the program itself.
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