The Madeleine Brand Show for March 12, 2012

How to pick NCAA March Madness winners like a pro

Big Ten Basketball Tournament - Ohio State v Michigan State

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Draymond Green #23 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates after winning against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Final Game of the 2012 Big Ten Men's Conference Basketball Tournament. Michigan State will be the No. 1 seed despite starting the season unranked.

It’s March Madness and as many as 40 millions Americans will fill out brackets in office pools. The goal is not to predict the champion, but to pick each and every winner among the sixty-eight teams competing in the NCAA basketball tournament.

Unfortunately, the odds against such a feat are astronomical: somewhere around 18 quintrillion to one. A number so big, that only a mathematical wizard could get their head around it.

NPR sports correspondent Mike Pesca says given those odds, don’t even try for perfection. He shares some strategies for at least doing better than anyone else in your office pool.

NCAA tournament begins tomorrow night and ends in New Orleans with the national championship game on April 2.


Mike Pesca is NPR sports correspondent.

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