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Thursday, March 16, 2006
Easier to Win Powerball or Be Perfect in NCAA Pool?
The answer: It depends. Suppose your chances are 50-50 of correctly guessing each in game the NCAA men's basketball tournament, which starts today. Then the odds are 9 quintillion to 1 against your filling out a perfect pool.
Put another way, it'd take about 3 billion monkeys each filling out 3 billion forms to be the neighborhood of certainty to generate one mistake-free form.
The odds of hitting the Powerball jackpot are much better, "only" 1 in 146 million. (No one won last night, by the way, so the prize is up to $88 million.)
But suppose, because you're a perspicacious hoopsologist, you'll right about three-fourths of the time. Then your odds are about 1 in 74 million, says Penn math prof Robin Permantle. That's about the odds of winning Powerball if you bought two tickets.