The NCAA reported that about 1,000 March Madness brackets out of more than 31 million (less than 1%) remained perfect after the first day of play.

The organization’s website watches for perfect brackets curated among major online brands and websites including:

  • CBS.
  • ESPN.
  • Men’s Bracket Challenge Game.
  • Yahoo.

Included on the perfect bracket list — for at least the first 17 games — was Falcons running back Bijan Robinson. “Bijan Robinson is still perfect to start the day.”

The NCAA announced that more than half of the women’s March Madness brackets busted with a 59-56 win by North Carolina over Michigan State on Friday. Only 44% of completed brackets had the Tar Heels beating the Spartans.

Has anyone ever finished with a perfect bracket?

Achieving a perfect bracket is near-impossible, as CBS News claims the odds are 1 in 9.2. quintillion. As a comparison, it’s like picking one second out of 297 billion years.

The simple answer is no, but there have been some close contenders.

Gregg Nigl, a neurologist from Columbus, Ohio, had a close-to-perfect bracket in 2019 until Purdue beat Tennessee during their Sweet 16 matchup. He reportedly almost did not fill out a bracket in time due to feeling sick, per CBS News.

Another person in 2017 predicted the first 39 games correctly until, coincidentally, Purdue beat Iowa State that year, added CBS News.

How a 12-year-old won March Madness one year

Sam Holtz in 2015 also had a near-perfect record — and not only was he a sixth-grader at the time, but he didn’t even watch college basketball to prepare.

“Before the tournament, I really don’t watch any college basketball,” he said in a YouTube video by Great Big Story.

Holtz claimed to have no strategy with making his picks, only choosing who he felt would win by which teams and coaches he related to. When asked about picking then-No. 7 Michigan State going to the Final Four, he claimed that the coach “is Italian, and I’m kind of Italian too,” per the video.

Despite this, Holtz was told by ESPN officials he did not win that year’s top prize — a trip to the Maui Invitational basketball tournament with a $20,000 Best Buy gift card — due to him not being at least 18 years old.

“I’m irritated,” Holtz told the Daily Herald in 2015. “Yes, I’m still proud of my accomplishment, but I’m not happy with the decision.”

Eventually, Best Buy offered Holtz a $1,000 gift card. He accepted it and bought two Xbox One consoles — one for himself, and the other for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, according to a statement by Best Buy.

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