Mar 25, 2010, 11:00 AM EST
That’s the question at least one blogger is asking today, as skepticism begins to grow over 17-year-old Alex Hermann’s perfect NCAA men’s tournament bracket. Hermann, who has autism, has chosen all 48 games of the tournament’s first two rounds correctly; earning him fame, but not fortune, throughout the Internetosphere. The Chicago-area teen made his picks in the CBS Bracket Manager online tool, which offers no prizes … and where, evidently, picks can be changed after the tournament begins. Over at the Guyism blog, and at other places around the ‘nets, they’re calling possible shenanigans.
What seemed like a “Rainman” in the making now smells of a dirty soiled diaper. Has anybody been involved in a legitimate bracket where you were allowed to make changes after play started? I’m not ready to call this the 2010 version f Balloon Boy just yet, but I’m real close to finding ‘Falcon in the attic.’
NBC Chicago, which reported the story initially, at first could not reach CBSSports.com to confirm Hermann’s bracket. They then updated their findings on Wednesday with this:
CBSSports.com can not confirm Alex’s entry — the company doesn’t track entries to their Bracket Manager program. Unlike CBSSports’ Bracket Challenge, which ranks players nationally and locks entries once the tournament begins, Bracket Manager does allow changes after play starts.
The Hermanns insist, however, that they filled out their brackets as a family before the tournament started, and haven’t touched the picks since. When asked whether the bracket was altered after the tourney began, Alex’s mother said, simply, “no.”
And then there’s this: Alex picked Purdue to win the whole thing. Probably not going to happen.
So in other words, because he is underage, Hermann couldn’t enter the regular CBS Bracket Challenge, which offers cash prizes and can be monitored. He did his picks on CBS’ Bracket Manager tool, which CBS admits it does not monitor, and where picks can be changed. Although as I understand it, one can only change picks on games which have not yet been played.
But that’s still useful. If you picked both if you pick both Kansas and Northern Iowa to win first-round games. and notice that Kansas kind of played like crap, and Northern Iowa has a center that matches up well with the Jayhawks, you can then switch your second-round pick.
Not that I’m saying Hermann did that.
What are the odds of someone picking a perfect overall tourney bracket? According to the American Statistical Association, one in 9 million trillion.
“Pick your favorite big number and it’s one in that. It’s really not a very likely thing,” said professor Shane Reese at BYU’s Statistics Department.
On Book of Odds.com, where they calculate statistics of every day life, they posted on their web site that a perfect bracket has odds that are “almost 18 times worse than your odds of being killed by a waterspout in a year.”
Here’s Hermann’s bracket.
Update: For you conspiracy theory types, OOB reader JTC checks in with this about Hermann’ bracket:
The bit map image submitted as proof is an image that has not been submitted to cbssports.com. The image is missing a final score, includes the save and reset buttons and the results of the completed games displayed in green. The web page does not allow submission of an entry without a final score. Once the tournament starts, the save and reset buttons are not displayed. Before the tournament starts, all selections are displayed in black. So my analysis of the bit map image is that it is counterfeit. This could have been created in a photoshop type program or by hijacking the source code from the cbssports.com web page prior to the start of the tournament and altering the java script and html code. As proof of these picks, log in and submit the source code to a news agency or give up your user name and password. Otherwise it’s just a clever hoax.
- So long folks, it’s time for me to take off 18
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