"Certainly, one could make different assumptions, but the 128 billion is not a bad approximation," said Bergen.
That means that if each person in the U.S. knew a bit about basketball and filled in a bracket, there's about a 1-in-400 chance that one person would pick every game correctly.
The physicists might be able to simulate this. Clark said they could weight the ion's choice by creating an "unequal superposition," which would allow them to create a probability unequal to 50-50. In this way, they might be able to account for the type of basketball knowledge Bergen referred to, and reduce the odds of the ion producing a perfect bracket.