Here's how many perfect brackets ESPN has left after wild March Madness


After the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s historic upset over the Virginia Cavaliers, just one out of 136 No. 16 seeds has beaten a No. 1 seed.

That one is still one more than the number of perfect brackets left in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge.

UMBC’s victory served as the final bracket buster as there were still 24 perfect brackets before Friday’s game. ESPN says that of the 17.3 million brackets submitted, zero remained perfect after that game.

Virginia wasn’t just a No. 1 seed and a favorite; it was the No. 1 overall seed and the most popular pick to cut down the nets on April 2.

Approximately 18.5 percent of submitted brackets had the Cavaliers winning the championship, which was the highest percentage of any team in the field.

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By comparison, Xavier was also a No. 1 seed and was also sent home early. It managed to make it to the second round, but the Musketeers were picked to win the championship on just 3.5 percent of brackets.

That percentage is nearly identical to the percentage of people who picked the Retrievers to defeat Virginia. However, while 3.35 percent of the brackets predicted UMBC’s historic upset, ESPN says those likely came via the randomized bracket draw option.

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Both Virginia and Xavier have company in the list of favorites who were knocked out during the first weekend.

Those two schools, along with North Carolina, Arizona, Michigan State and Cincinnati, were all among the top 11 teams picked to win the championship, and now they are all thinking about next year.

The South Region had three of those favorites (No. 1 UVA, No. 2 Cincinnati, No. 3 Arizona) along with No. 4 Tennessee. Yet none of the top four seeds advanced to the Sweet 16, which means that more history was made.

Advancing to the Sweet 16 in the South are No. 5 Kentucky, No. 7 Nevada, No. 9 Kansas State and No. 11 Loyola-Chicago. The people who somehow managed to predict that those four teams would represent the region in the next round were few and far between, but still more than the zero perfect brackets that remain.

There were 5,969 entries that correctly predicted the Sweet 16 teams in the South region — or about 1 out of every 2,898 brackets submitted.

Going into the Sweet 16, two entries are tied atop the leaderboard. One picked Gonzaga to win its first national championship, and the other believes Clemson will do the same.

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With literally everyone’s bracket busted, ESPN is offering a “Tournament Challenge Second Chance,” something the top seeds who were sent home wish was a reality for them.

Fans can get a clean slate starting with the Sweet 16 and pick the final 15 teams of the tournament. ESPN does the “Second Bracket” every year, but it probably didn’t expect to have to use it this early with no more perfect brackets remaining.

The winner of the Second Chance bracket will receive a $5,000 Amazon Gift Card, while the winner of the main bracket gets a retail value prize of $19,950.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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