9,223,373,036,854,775,808 to 1.

According to the Associated Press Stylebook, which is the bible for newspapers, making us sinners on a daily basis, the only time a sentence should start with a number is if it’s a year, such as: 2014 was a very good year.

So we just sinned.

We couldn’t turn the number that began today’s Our View into a word because we simply aren’t that smart — and even if we were, we’re not sure there is space to accommodate it. But we will tell you that number, whatever it is, is the odds of a person filling out a perfect NCAA basketball bracket for the tournament that began last night with two play-in games — assuming that a person knows nothing, and the odds of picking any single game correctly is always 50 percent.

Of course, no one is that dumb, and there are some games that are a lock to pick — such as, and this is completely at random, UNC defeating Texas Slluthern on Friday. So the chances of a perfect bracket are considerably lower than the number that began today’s Our View.

Still, there is no demonstrable proof that anyone has ever completed a perfect bracket. There are probably plenty of perfect brackets floating around with evidence of Witeout or that they were originally done in pencil.

It is estimated that 40 million Americans will fill about 70 million NCAA brackets, making that an average of 1.75 brackets per each person, but the folks with the deepest pockets in the office like to flood the pool to increase their chances by filling out brackets that don’t resemble one another.

If you are one of those Americans who will be darkening some brackets, we wish to be useful. Here are you best bests, according to Vegas: Duke 13 to 2; North Carolina, 7 to 1; Kansas, 7 to 1; Villanova, 15 to 2; Gonzaga, 17 to 2; Arizona, 9 to 1; Kentucky, 11 to 1; UCLA, 12 to 1; Louisville, 12 to 1; Oregon, 28 to 1; Florida State, 30 to 1; Purdue, 30 to 1, SMU, 30 to 1, West Virginia, 33 to 1; Florida, 40 to 1, Virginia, 45 to 1; and Baylor, 50 to 1.

The power of the little guy is displayed in office pools, where folks who wouldn’t know Buffalo University from that majestic animal that once roamed the West have just as much chance to claim bragging rights — and some tax-free cash — as the guy who spouts meaningless sports statistics and cannot throw away a piece of paper without wadding it into a ball and shooting a fade away jump shot at the corner trashcan. Picking winners based on which team has the most snazzy uniforms may seem silly to hardcore fans, but some folks have done that and won.

At this point we think it should be noted that office pools are illegal in this state, which makes a criminal out of about 1.5 million North Carolinians.

We encourage those participating in gambling, whether in an office or online, to do so in moderation and keep things in perspective — meaning we advise that you not spend too much money trying to win or work time trying to figure out if you did or not. It is estimated that employers in the country lose about $4 billion in wages paid to employees who spend work hours and employer bandwidth tracking their NCAA tourney brackets online. That’s twice the amount of money tossed into all those office pools.

We will end with our best effort to explain the number that we began with: It is 9.223,373,036,854,775,808 quintillion.

We would try to explain how much a quintillion is, but we would have a better chance at that perfect bracket.

In other words, no chance.

Good luck in the pool.

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