Win a billion bucks? Not this year

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

It was stated from the beginning that the odds of picking a perfect NCAA tournament bracket were 9.2 quintillion-to-1, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that there aren't any left among the ESPN-record 11 million-plus entries in the ESPN Tournament Challenge.

Three people had gone 27-0, but 12-seed Stephen F. Austin, which converted a four-point play to send it to overtime, ended any dreams by ousting 5-seed VCU on Friday night.

And as for anybody's hopes of hitting up Warren Buffett for his $1 billion prize in the Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge? Alas, that will not happen. Nobody -- as in no-bo-dy -- was left with a perfect bracket after Memphis ousted George Washington before the round of 64 was complete.

"If Warren Buffett wants to donate the (billion) to our university, we will take it and use it in good company," Memphis coach Josh Pastner told reporters after the game. "We'll find a way."

All is not lost, however; there are still 20 prizes of $100,000 each for the best "imperfect" brackets in that challenge.

Yahoo! Sports reported that one person on the site picked a perfect bracket, but it was not entered in the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge.

Some 18,741 entrants on ESPN survived Thursday's games without a blemish, but that quickly deteriorated to just 66 after Mercer stunned 3-seed Duke and 10-seed Stanford toppled New Mexico on Friday.

That number fell to 16 after 11-seed Tennessee beat 6-seed UMass.

You get the idea.

Perhaps that's why in the history of ESPN's Tournament Challenge, there never has been a perfect bracket.

In fact, only once in the past seven years has anyone even gone 32-0 entering the Round of 32.

But don't worry. There's always next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.