March Madness Bracket Contest Would Pay out $1 billion

J. Meric

Everyone completes at least one March Madness bracket and everyone now has a chance to pocket $1 billion if they know their stuff (and get very lucky).

A perfect March Madness bracket is worth a billion dollars of Warren Buffett's loot.

Odds of picking a perfect bracket for the NCAA men's basketball tournament? About 1 in 128 billion, but the contest is free.

Quicken Loans and Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway are teaming up for the online contest. Registration for the Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket begins March 3 and runs through March 19, the day before the first two full days of NCAA tournament play.

[ See the current March Madness betting odds on every team ]

Only one entry is allowed per household, and you must be 21 years old to be eligible for the grand prize. The 20 most accurate, yet imperfect, brackets will be awarded $100,000 to be used for buying or remodeling a home.

"Millions of people play brackets every March, so why not take a shot at become $1 billion richer for doing so," Buffett said in a January press release announcing the contest.

"While there is no simple path to success, it sure doesn't get much easier than filling out a bracket online. To quote a commercial from one of my companies, I'd dare say it's so easy that even a caveman can do it."

If there are multiple winners who buck the odds and fill out an unblemished NCAA tournament bracket, they will share the billion-dollar grand prize. Prize money will be paid out in 40 annual installments of $25 million.

Or the winner(s) may opt for an immediate $500 million lump sum. Which would you take?

Regardless, it's going to take some major magic for anyone to fill out a perfect NCAA tournament bracket this year. College basketball appears to be more wide-open than ever.

Powerhouse programs like Duke, Syracuse, and Kansas (all among the Top 5 March Madness betting choices) are in the hunt, but so are giant-killers like Wichita State and Creighton. Most pundits believe that as many as 10-15 different teams have a legitimate shot at winning it all this season.

The NCAA tournament tips off on March 11 with the play-in games, followed by Thursday and Friday's opening rounds. The Final Four is slated for Saturday, April 5, at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.

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