NPR : News

Filed Under:

Buffett's Billion Dollars Are Safe As Upsets Bust Brackets

Mercer University's stunning upset of Duke on Friday in the NCAA Division I men's basketball championship ruined most fans' brackets — the guesses they make before the 64 teams face each other about which team's going to win every game.

By Friday evening, though, there were still three folks from about the 8.7 million or so who had entered Quicken Loans' "Billion $ Bracket Challenge" who had a chance to win the $1 billion prize offered by investment whiz Warren Buffett if they correctly picked the winner of every game.

Then Memphis beat George Washington, 71-66, and boom when those last three brackets in the billion-dollar challenge that hadn't already been busted. "It took just 25 games for everyone to be eliminated," ABC News points out.

The chances of winning Buffett's billion were astronomical. As Yahoo Sports, which is hosting the challenge, says:

"Depending on who you ask, the odds of picking a perfect bracket sit somewhere between 1 in 128 billion and 1 in 9.2 quintillion, give or take a few decimal points."

Now, we should point out that there's still money to be won in the Quicken Loans/Buffett challenge. Twenty prizes of $100,000 each are available to the entrants who come closest to being right about all the games.

By the way, there are many other websites that invited fans to fill out brackets. Millions also have brackets elsewhere on Yahoo, for instance. As of Saturday morning, only one person's Yahoo brackets were still perfect. That prognosticator is Brad Binder, 23, of Buffalo Grove, Ill.

"I did all my picks under five minutes," he tells Yahoo Sports.

Alas, he's not entered in the billion dollar challenge. But he seems to have a sense of humor about that. Binder tweets that he's doing it "for the love of the bracket guys, did it for the love of the bracket."

He does have a question for Buffett, however:

"IF my bracket is perfect...IF...., I WILL be getting SOMETHING....right @WarrenBuffett ?"

If you want to see which teams Binder thinks will win the rest of the way, his brackets are here. He's expecting one significant upset this weekend: A victory for Stephen F. Austin University over UCLA on Sunday.

Binder thinks Mercer will win one more game — beating Tennessee on Sunday — before being eliminated. He's picking Michigan State to win the title.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit

WAMU 88.5

Anne Tyler: "A Spool Of Blue Thread" (Rebroadcast)

In her first live radio interview ever, Pulitzer Prize winning author Anne Tyler joins Diane to talk about her 20th novel, "A Spool of Blue Thread."


Fine Brine From Appalachia: The Fancy Mountain Salt That Chefs Prize

An artisanal salt producer is processing brine from ancient ocean deposits below West Virgina's mountains. The company, J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works, ships to top chefs who value the salt's minerality.

Many Health Co-Ops Fold, Others Survive Startup Struggles

Establishing a member-owned, nonprofit health co-op from scratch is tough; 12 of 23 that tried under Obamacare have closed after just one year. Sick patients poured in, and promised subsidies didn't.

From Takeout To Breakups: Apps Can Deliver Anything, For A Price

Convenience is at an all-time premium — and a lot of smartphone apps promise to make many of the things we do every day easier. In a time-crunch or sheer laziness, how far will the apps take us?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.