A record number of perfect brackets are left after a calm first round

There’s breaking a record.

Then there’s smashing a record so hard it defies belief.

Indeed, what a large number of Yahoo users did in the first round of this year’s NCAA Tourney Pick’em may never be replicated. Aided by a set of games that did not produce any big surprises, a total of 36 entries went a perfect 32-for-32 on their complete brackets and will enter Saturday with a spotless bracket.

A 37th entry was also a perfect 16-for-16, but only picked three Final Four teams and neglected to pick a winner in the national championship game. Whoops.

Thirty-six perfect entries is almost unthinkable when you consider this: Only one previous person has ever been perfect in the opening round over the 18 years Yahoo has hosted a pick’em tournament.

Yes, just one. Illinois native Brad Binder made headlines in 2014 when he turned in a perfect opening round on Yahoo and then nailed his first four picks of the next round before recording a blemish.

The 2017 group is too big to list individually by name, but the perfect posse has benefited from a first-round that went mostly to chalk. All 16 teams seeded 1-4 advanced without incident and the only 5 seed that fell — Minnesota — came into its game against 12th-seeded Middle Tennessee State as an underdog.

In the 32 first-round games, the team with the better seed won 26 times. Five double-digit seeds advanced but all five came into the tournament with realistic expectations of winning their first-round game.

Compare this year’s outcome to the first day of last year’s tournament, when Thursday wins by two No. 11 seeds and two No. 12 seeds busted the brackets of 99.999 percent of Yahoo entries by nightfall. Fifteen upsets in the round of 64 decimated every single entry by the weekend.

Now with the first-round in the books for 2017, the question becomes: Which of those 36 entries will remain perfect the longest? You can track them during Saturday’s action on the Yahoo Sports Tourney Pick’em leaderboard.


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