Posted March 25, 2010 02:15 pm

Heroes and Dipsticks 32


Alex Herman. He's the autistic 17-year-old in the Chicago area who, going into the Sweet Sixteen, has picked a perfect NCAA bracket. That, of course, includes upsets such as Nothern Iowa over Kansas, Cornell over Wisconsin and Ohio over Wisconsin.

He's supposedly a stat and mathematical whiz who reportedly watched every team and players and is great on probabilities.

The odds of having a perfect bracket at this point are 1 in 13.4 million. You have a better chance of winning the lottery — twice.

He's picked Purdue to win in all. Best of luck. For now, I salute him.


All of us who spend at inordinate amount of time studying teams, trends and going through all kinds of stats to fill out at NCAA bracket — then see everything come crashing down in a few hours.

With due respect to Alex Herman, there's another element involved, pure luck.

I don't care how good you are at research, stats, mathematical possibilities, etc., you can't predict a buzzer beater or a buzzer shot that doesn't fall. You can't predict a key player missing a pivotal shot. You can't predict foul trouble or injury.

Many teams that advance, all that pull an upset have to be lucky. Some key player gets in foul trouble. Somebody hits an unreal shot. There's a break on a turnover or a foul. Or just a weird combination of events.

No matter what the mathematical formula, any prediction carries with it an element of unpredictability, based on several variables.

Anyone who has success in an NCAA bracket has to be lucky. For someone to think otherwise puts him in "Dipstick" territory.

Alex Herman's older brother, Andrew, helped him enter some bracket contest. "My bracket is totally shot. So is eveery else's I know," Andrew said.

The Dipstick element to the Herman's situation is Alex entered one of three bracket games offered by CBS. He entered the only one that doesn't carry a prize for the top picks.