The idea of a perfect NCAA tourney bracket is a unicorn. It’s why someone is willing to bet a billion dollars against it, with little to no risk. Death, taxes and brackets will bust.
But is 2018 the year with the most busted of busted brackets ever?
Consider these stats from Yahoo Sports Tourney Pick ‘Em:
• More than 99 percent picked Virginia to beat UMBC. They were wrong.
• Virginia was the second-most picked team (20.8 percent) to win it all.
• Thirty-six brackets survived last year’s first round; zero did this year.
While there is no data to definitively determine if, in fact, 2018 generated the most busted up of busted brackets ever, it’s clearly in the running if not the lead.
Of the top 10 most popular picks to win it all, only five remain (Villanova, Duke, Kansas, Michigan and Purdue).
Only 45 percent have their winner still alive, compared to 58 percent last year. The second (Virginia), fourth (Michigan State), sixth (North Carolina), seventh (Arizona) and ninth (Xavier) most popular picks to win it all are gone, with two of those (Virginia, Arizona) going out in the first round.
More than 90,000 had their Final Four picks intact at this point last year. This year, just 33,000.
And finally, there’s this: Last year at this time, more than 7,000 brackets had all Elite Eight teams still alive. This year, just 264 do.
So no, Charles Barkley is hardly alone.
More from Yahoo Sports:
• NFL mock draft 2.0: It’s all about the QBs
• Did NBA prospect hurt himself with tourney dud?
• President Trump makes it harder for MLB teams to trade
• Dan Wetzel: NHL model offers best reform solution for NCAA hoops