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NEW YORK (AP) — So, about that billion dollars.
Warren Buffett looks at his offer to pay $1 billion to anyone who fills out a perfect NCAA tournament bracket as nothing more than a matter of having the numbers in his favor.
Mathematicians say he’s right. That’s still not stopping them from building a cottage industry by teaching bracket-fillers how to make the impossible seem possible — or a little less improbable.
Around a half-dozen college professors are offering special classes to teach people the ins and outs of the numbers that will, inevitably, work against them. And there’s one website — takebuffettsbillion.com — that says it will send a unique, statistician-crunched bracket to anyone who signs up, with the promise that all those in on the gig will split the money if one of those brackets is the winner. (As of Monday, about 9,000 people had signed up.)
“I’d love to demystify all this,” said DePaul math professor Jeff Bergen, whose expertise has been in demand this month. “The math involved is quite simple and can be done in a high school class. What blows people away is the magnitude of the numbers. You look at the number ‘9 quintillion’ and it’s hard to wrap your head around it.”
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