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Daniel Wilco | NCAA.com | March 19, 2017

Last perfect bracket busts after 40 games in the 2017 NCAA tournament

  8-seed Wisconsin's win over defending champion Villanova busted the seven remaining perfect brackets on NCAA.com's Bracket Challenge Game.

What a run it was.

After 40 games in the NCAA tournament, the final perfect bracket has busted.

This includes reporting on tens of millions of brackets from the Capital One March Madness Bracket Challenge game at NCAA.com, as well as games at Bleacher Report, CBS, ESPN, Fox Sports and Yahoo. 

The record-setting bracket, entered in Yahoo’s bracket game, was the only bracket to make it past 37 games unscathed, and managed to reach 39 straight correct picks before Iowa State fell short of a comeback against Purdue and handed the bracket its first loss of the tournament.

For reference, the odds of flipping a coin and having it land on heads 39 times in a row is 1 in 549,755,813,888. 

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Before this year, the longest verified online bracket streak we've found to start the tournament was 36 games from 2014. Last year, the longest perfect bracket tracked busted after 25 straight correct picks. 

This year, in the Capital One NCAA March Madness Bracket Challenge game, 22 brackets made it to Satuday unscathed, but when 8-seed Wisconsin downed overall No. 1 Villanova in the 34th game of the tournament, all seven remaining perfect brackets were busted.

ESPN's leaderboard showed just two brackets still unblemished through 36 games (11-seed Xavier's win over 3-seed FSU) along with the Yahoo bracket. But both of ESPN's brackets picked 12-seed Middle Tennessee to take down 4-seed Butler. When the Bulldogs won 74-65, only Yahoo's bracket stood standing at a perfect 37-0. 

After Arizona and Florida both moved on to the Sweet 16, the perfect bracket moved to 39-0 heading into the final game of the night — Iowa State (the bracket's prediction) vs. Purdue. 

The Cyclones rallied from a 19-point deficit to bring the game to within two points with under a minute left, but couldn't close, and the last perfect bracket was busted.

The biggest upset of the day, Wisconsin's win over 1-seed VIllanova, impacted more than just the perfect brackets. In NCAA.com's game, Villanova was the third-highest picked team to win the title, with 10.45 percent of our users picking the Wildcats to repeat as national champions. What's more, 40.2 percent had the 1-seed in their Final Four.

There were only six upsets (including the relative toss-up of an 8-9 game) in the first round this year, which contributed to uncommon early bracket success.

Since 1985, there have been an average of nine first round upsets, and last year's tournament saw a record 15 upsets in the Round of 64. This year was only the second time in the past 13 years that there have been fewer than seven upsets in the opening round. It was also just the fifth year (and first since 2007) that no 13, 14, or 15 seed won a game.

For reference on how straightforward this year was, Yahoo noted that before 2017, only one previous Yahoo bracket had started 32-for-32 in the 18 years it has hosted an online tournament.

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A few more interesting facts:

• One bracket at the NCAA game was perfect through 24 before busting because it chose 16-seed UC Davis over Kansas. A 16 seed has never beaten a 1 seed in the history of the tournament.
• One Yahoo bracket that was perfect through 32 games is not counted among its group because it's incomplete, according to Yahoo. It failed to choose a fourth final winner and national champion.
• On the flip side of perfection, five NCAA.com brackets managed to start the tournament 0-for-21 before each finally got a line correct.

Here’s a look at how the first 34 games progressed for NCAA.com's Bracket Challenge Game before our final bracket was busted:

(Click to expand)

NCAA Digital's Dan Jepperson and Mike Szahaj contributed to the reporting of this article.