AP Sports Writer
Welcome back to an alumni-packed edition of BracketRacket, the one-stop shopping place for your offbeat NCAA tournament needs. Today, we explain why Warren Buffett is rich and you're not, why you don't always need a private jet to enjoy the tourney, and how a kid actor nearly stole the show. Without further ado:
THANKS FOR PLAYING. NOW DON'T FORGET YOUR PARTING GIFT
And because misery never lacks company, so are all the other geniuses who penciled Cincinnati, Ohio State and Oklahoma into the third round. According to one estimate, at least 95 percent of the 100 million or so brackets filled out all across America were busted by the time the NCAA tournament was barely 12 hours old. So just about the only guy still smiling when his head hit the pillow last night was Warren Buffett, and that's because he won't have to worry much longer about handing the $1 billion he stuffed under his mattress to anyone who finished the tourney with a perfect score.
Lord knows the lengths people went to hoping to get their hands on that cash. BracketRacket's favorite scheme involved rats in replica jerseys racing through a maze built in the shape of a bracket. Taking "March Madness" to ever-greater heights, ESPN aired a video of the whole shebang, which you can watch (thanks to Awful Announcing) here: http://bit.ly/1l957ub
Of course, knowing how to play the odds -- they were 9,223,372,036,854,775,808, or, rounding off, 9.2 quintillion-to-1 against such a possibility -- is one reason Buffett still has most of his money.
The good news is there's still hope. The bad news is that what little remains likely resides in the already sparsely populated state of North Dakota.
Just like the rest of us, math students at North Dakota State came up with a formula to help them fill out their NCAA brackets, And while they might be smarter -- they called theirs a "logistic conditional probability model" -- they, too, picked Oklahoma to beat NDSU. They also missed the upsets by Harvard (over Cincy) and Dayton (OSU).
But humans are not always logical. And they can be loyal to a fault.
"I did actually pick NDSU to upset Oklahoma in my personal bracket," said NDSU senior Bryan Rask, a mathematics and statistics major who worked on the project. "We've got a lot of senior leaders on our team, and if (Taylor) Braun and (TrayVonn) Wright play at the top of their game, I think we have a pretty good chance at the upset."
Take that, "SportsCenter."
Speaking of upsets, it's too bad Oklahoma doesn't award frequent-flyer miles. Otherwise, Toby Keith would have something to show for the trip.
The country music singer and die-hard Sooners fan was on a concert tour of Australia when he learned Oklahoma was playing North Dakota State in the NCAA tourney at Spokane, Wash., and he wasn't about to let a small inconvenience like the Pacific Ocean get in the way of attending.
Keith described his journey to AP's Carey Williams this way: "We left two days ago, went to Hawaii, spent the night, let the pilots get a little sleep and rested up so we could get in here and make this game."
Unfortunately, the result wasn't as smooth as the getting there.
On the plus side, Keith had already written his best-selling song, "A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action" nearly two decades ago. Otherwise, the temptation to pen something to remember the trip by might have been impossible to resist.
CELEBRITY ALUM, HONORABLE MENTION
Don Schneider didn't travel quite that far to watch his beloved Badgers. But at least his sacrifice paid off.
The 62-year-old steel salesman was the only patron inside Snapper's Sports Bar & Grill in Honolulu when it opened just before 7 a.m. local time. Schneider explained that he and wife Karen have a timeshare at the nearby Hilton, which is why they're usually in paradise for March Madness. He was already halfway through a Budweiser at the Waikiki watering hole, a popular spot for wandering Wisconsin fans that opened 90 minutes early Thursday, when he ran into AP stringer Sam Eifling.
"Last year I started watching on the app in the hotel room," he said. "This is way more fun."
For the first hour, Schneider was virtually the entire party. And the way Wisconsin came out early against American University, the mood wasn't likely to improve in a hurry.