The Billion Dollar Bracket proved elusive for everyone, as it took just two days of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament to wipe out every single entry. The contest was expected to draw 15 million participants, but only three Billion Dollar Bracket contestants remained by the end of Day Two, when ninth-seeded George Washington University faced the Memphis Tigers.
All three of those Billion Dollar Brackets had George Washington picked to handle the Tigers, but that’s not what happened. Memphis inflicted a billion dollar defeat on George Washington, 71-66 — each point in their margin of victory worth $200 million to the three unlucky entrants.
The Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge was sponsored by Quicken Loans and backed by multi-billionaire Warren Buffett.
“If Warren Buffett wants to donate the (billion) to our university, we will take it and use it in good company,” quipped Memphis coach Josh Pastner. “We’ll find a way.”
The Billion Dollar Bracket contest rules required the winner to fill out a flawless bracket, picking all 63 tournament games correctly. With only 25 games played, the Billion Dollar Bracket was history. Which is not too surprising considering that the odds of even a college basketball expert getting 63 straight games right were estimated at 128 billion to one. Picking the games randomly resulted in truly unfathomable odds of 9.2 quintillion to one.
The Mega Millions lottery seems like a pretty easy bet by comparison.
There is still a chance for Billion Dollar Bracket contestants to pocket some cash. The top 20 most accurate brackets will be worth $100,000 each. Nothing to sneeze at, but a pretty far cry from a billion bucks.
Only 16 Billion Dollar Bracket entries were still good after Stanford beat New Mexico. But 10 of those had UMass somehow beating Tennessee. Uh, wrong.
When Gonzaga beat Oklahoma State, three more Billion Dollar Brackets fell by the wayside. Then came the George Washington — Memphis matchup and it was game over for everyone.
Whether Quicken and Buffett will sponsor another Billion Dollar Bracket in 2015 has not been announced, but at those odds, they could make it a Trillion Dollar Bracket and in all likelihood, still come out ahead.