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Data-mining disguised as NCAA bracket challenge

A stack of blank NCAA brackets sits with menus, available to patrons at Jake's sports bar, in Denver, Monday March 17, 2014. Warren Buffett has promised a billion dollars for a perfect NCAA bracket, the chances of which are astronomically small. The NCAA March Madness tournament is to begin Tuesday. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Is your bracket filled out yet? Still can't decide that 5-12 matchup? While you're agonizing over points in the paint or fast-break points, be careful which NCAA bracket you're filling out.

Brackets are being used today for a lot of reasons that don't have anything to do with basketball.

Like the billion dollar bracket - it seems like that is all anyone has been talking about.

Billionaire Warren Buffet's challenge comes with a billion dollar payout. If you get every game correct, you can pocket a billion dollars, and best of all, you can fill out the bracket for free.

What Buffet doesn't tell you is that there is almost no chance you'll ever see the money. The odds of getting a perfect bracket are one in nine quintillion. did the math. If everyone in America filled out a bracket at random, you could run this contest for 290 million years, and there would still be a 99 percent chance that no one would win.

But you know who really wins in this contest? Sponsor Quicken Loans. To enter this bracket, you need to fill out a questionnaire with a bunch of information about where you live and whether you're looking for a home loan.

It's a data-mining scam. You're doing Quicken Loans' work for them, and you basically have no chance of winning a dime.

Not to be outdone by Warren Buffet, the president is using the NCAA Tournament to pitch health care too.

Using two of college basketball's most recognizable coaches, Roy Williams of North Carolina and Geno Auriemma of UConn, the president has unveiled his Sweetest 16 reasons to sign up for healthcare.

It's another last-ditch effort to sign up young people for health care. It's a bracket where you can vote for your favorite viral internet gifs under the guise of the Affordable Care Act.

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About the Author

Chris Sullivan is a traffic reporter for KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. He cares deeply about the amount of time you spend sitting in Seattle traffic.


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