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These Billionaires Are Offering $1 Billion For the Perfect March Madness Bracket

The stakes for March Madness just got a little bit higher.

Quicken Loans, founded by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, and Berkshire Hathaway, run by Warren Buffett, are partnering to give away $1 billion to the lucky — or clairvoyant — person who can correctly predict the 2014 Men’s NCAA Tournament bracket.

Though the prize is high, the feat is near impossible: the contest rules for the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge note that the odds of winning the grand prize are one in 4,294,967,296. Last year, USA Today said the odds of filling out a perfect bracket (just using math, no basketball knowledge) were even higher: 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. They said the the odds were closer to 1 in 128 billion if you do know about the sport.

In the Quicken Loans contest, the grand prize winner would receive 40 annual installments of $25 million or could opt for a lump sum of $500 million. There’s also $2 million at stake for creators of less-than-perfect brackets: 20 first prize winners with the closest brackets will receive $100,000 each to use toward buying, refinancing or remodeling a home.

“While there is no simple path to success, it sure doesn’t get much easier than filling out a bracket online,” Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said in a statement. “To quote a commercial from one of my companies, I’d dare say it’s so easy to enter that even a caveman can do it.”

As part of the promotion, Quicken will also donate $1 million to Detroit and Cleveland non-profit organizations that work on youth education. The Gawker blog Jalopnik pointed to the discrepancy:

“So if you’re stuck in a cycle of poverty, you have to share $1 million between thousands of other kids between two cities. But if you’re lucky at basketball, you get a billion. Good to know!”

Further details and official rules will be released when the contest begins March 3. That’s more than a month to start strategizing how to create the perfect bracket.

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