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March 18, 2013

NCAA BASKETBALL (MARCH MADNESS): 'That's 1 MILLION times bigger than 9 TRILLION!'

(Continued)

SHOW ME THE MONEY. THEN STACK ALL THOSE BRACKETS IN A NEAT PILE

Apparently, the dreaded sequester will not affect college basketball wagering.

Las Vegas-based sports-betting guru RJ Bell of Pregame.com said 100 million people around the world are expected to put $12 billion on the line beginning with Thursday's games — "more action combined than the Super Bowl!" according to his release.

But those aren't the really staggering numbers.

It's 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 — or if you insist on rounding off, 9.2 quintillion.

If we read Bell's release correctly — no sure bet, so we called — those are the odds that even one of those 100 million brackets would be perfect by tourney's end.

"That's ONE MILLION times bigger than 9 TRILLION!" Bell's release added helpfully.

Or, put another way: "If all the people on Earth filled out one bracket per second, it would take over 43 years to fill out every possible bracket."

And another: "If all possible brackets were stacked on top of each other (on standard paper), the pile would reach from the moon and back over 1.1 million times."

Of course, that's just for the 64-team bracket.

"If expanded to consider 68 teams," Bell added, "multiple the figures by 4."

Somebody get the man another espresso.

CELEBRITY ALUM OF THE DAY

When last we saw "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm, he had a full plate. Season five ended with his character, Don Draper, and the rest of the old-boy network at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce wrestling with issues like adultery and suicide. Turns out his time off from the series was almost as stressful.

"I've been around long enough to remember the Big Eight," the Missouri alum (Class of '93) told Associated Press television writer Lynn Elber. "Then, we're in the Big 12. And now we're in the SEC, which is really weird for me because this is our first season, and our football team just got destroyed.

"But a rising tide lifts all boats," he added, "and we will, hopefully, be challenged by our new conference."

"Mad Men" makes its debut this season April 7, the night before the NCAA championship game, and the shooting schedule has wreaked havoc on his regular sports-viewing habits. The Tigers open tournament play against Ole Miss on Friday at Nashville, but Hamm — who played football, baseball and swam in high school — concedes he hasn't been able to follow them as closely as he'd like.

"We're usually off by this time, so I usually get the whole March Madness-wash-over-me excitement. That has not been this season," he said. "Last year, we finished (taping) in February. This year, it will be April. So I missed the World Series last year, I missed the playoffs this year, I'll miss everything but the Stanley Cup playoffs."

Not that it will stop him from filling out a bracket.

"I usually do every year. Give somebody $10," Hamm chuckled, "and break the law."

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