JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Gregg Nigl was perfect and making history and he didn’t even know.
When Daniel Wilco of NCAA.com tracked down Nigl, a Columbus, Ohio resident, this week, it was to let him in on a not-so-little secret
Nigl’s March Madness bracket, with the name, “center road,” had yet to miss a game. It was the only one in the world to remain perfect entering the Sweet 16. And not only had Nigl’s bracket correctly picked all 48 games thus far, it is the furthest in the tournament that a bracket had remained perfect.
The longest that a tournament bracket could be verified without missing was 39 games, according to NCAA.com.
“This is my friend’s bracket [group] that he invited me to, and I almost didn’t fill it out because we were just doing it for fun and I’m in a couple other ones at work and stuff. Almost didn’t even fill it out,” Nigl told Wilco.
There are 15 games left in the tournament. Nigl's bracket is already a history-maker. But what are the odds of him finishing 63 for 63?
They're just about unfathomable from a mathematical standpoint.
According to a 2015 report done by Duke math professor Jonathan Mattingly, the odds of a perfect basketball bracket are 1 in 2.4 trillion. That’s trillion with a T.
And that’s significantly better than odds that Forbes magazine, citing numerous mathematicians, says the chances of picking the perfect bracket are. Those odds — 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,777,808. That’s 9.2 quintillion.
Want some perspective on those odds?
Professor Steven A. Nelson of Tulane University said in a 2018 report that the odds of being killed by an asteroid were 1 in 250,000. Clark R. Chapman of the Southwest Research Institute published a 2007 report that the odds of getting killed by a meteor or asteroid strike in a local area — as opposed to a regional or global impact — were 1 in 5.7 million.
The odds of winning the Powerball drawing? One in 292 million.
If you've got Gonzaga winning it all, you should feel pretty good about your bracket. That's who Nigl has winning the championship, beating Kentucky.