MINNEAPOLIS -- By now many have heard about the offer -- billionaire Warren Buffett will pay anyone who picks a perfect NCAA bracket $1 billion.
But just what are the odds of scoring the perfect bracket? KARE 11 went straight to the guru of all things numbers -- Dr. Brad Carlin, a professor of biostatistics in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.
"Getting them all right is so hard to do. It's an astronomically small probability," Carlin said from his office on Friday.
But we want more from a man who dubs himself a "sports-wagering enthusiast" during the month of March. We want numbers.
Again we asked, how likely is it that someone picks the winner of all 67 games (that's including the four play-in games)?
"If every game was a toss up, it would be 2 to the 67 ways that you could fill out your sheet. That's about 128 quintillion possibilities," Carlin said.
"That's 128 with 18 zeros ... so it's a trillion times bigger than a billion. It's a big number," he added.
Yes, it is. Now that's the number of "possible" ways to complete the bracket, but it's not the actual odds of winning. For that, Carlin said you need to take into account the fact No. 1 seeds always beat 16 seeds and other factors. After completing that calculation, Carlin says the odds are more like "1 in 128 billion."
But there's another twist to the numbers tale. The Buffett-Quicken Loans contest is open to 10 million people. Which means, the chances of one of those 10 million scoring the perfect sheet is…
"The calculations I've done, the chance of anyone getting this right -- out of 10 million -- is more like .0078 percent," Carlin said.
Still, the contest is free, and there are several other prizes -- including money towards a home purchase or remodel. So, Carlin recommends you remember a couple key pieces of information. Pick against the No. 16 seed; pick upsets and maybe even pick against your favorite team.
"I always bet against my emotional favorites, that way, if they win, I'm pleasantly surprised. And the fact I lost the money doesn't matter to me," Carlin said.
Which begs the question: The Gophers? Or a billion dollars? Gophers? A billion? Hmmm...