The odds of filling out a perfect NCAA Tournament bracket are agonizingly slim.
Experts have said that the mathematical probability of correctly picking the winning team in each game of the annual men’s college basketball tournament is about 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Those chances would improve slightly for fans who take into account other variables, such as seeding, but it’s still highly unlikely that anyone will emerge without at least a few red marks on their page.
What’s more probable for Santa Monicans is to come across games featuring players who have ties to the beachside city. As March Madness begins, the Daily Press takes a look at a few of the local connections:
When the California Golden Bears meet Hawaii in the round of 64 at 11 a.m. Friday in Spokane, Washington, they’ll have a former Santa Monica High School star on their side in Jordan Mathews.
The 6-foot-4 junior guard is Cal’s third-leading scorer (13.2 points per game) and most prolific distance shooter (86 made 3-pointers) this season. He’s also one of the team’s most reliable free-throw shooters (79.4 percent).
Mathews helped the Bears earn a No. 4 seed in the tournament, the best placement in program history, and some pundits believe talented freshmen Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb can keep them dancing into the Sweet 16 for the first time since the 1996-97 season.
But Cal (23-10) probably won’t easily waltz past No. 13 Hawaii, which has lost only five games this season and which has punched its ticket to the tournament for the first time since 2002.
Mathews and the Bears will be competing without assistant coach Yann Hufnagel, who was fired Monday amid sexual harassment allegations.
Future in focus
Jonah Mathews isn’t playing college basketball yet, but he’ll probably be following the tournament closely.
Not only is his older brother playing in the field for the first time, but his future team is also taking part in the action.
The Samohi senior is planning to play next season for USC, which is scheduled to face the Providence Friars in the opening round at 6:50 p.m. Thursday in Raleigh, North Carolina. The winner will likely face No. 1 North Carolina in the round of 32.
Led by sophomore guard Jordan McLaughlin, the eighth-seeded Trojans (21-12) are averaging 80.8 points per game. Andy Enfield’s roster also includes Ocean League product Chimezie Metu, a Lawndale alumnus who has logged a team-high 53 blocks this season.
Remember when Jayce Johnson decided to forgo his senior season at Samohi to enroll early in college?
That college was Utah, which earned a No. 3 seed and which will face 14th-seeded Fresno State in the opening round at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Denver.
Coached by Larry Krystkowiak, the Runnin’ Utes (26-8) boast one of the best interior players in the country in forward Jakob Poeltl (17.6 points per game).
Johnson, a 7-footer who played one year with the Vikings, still has four years of athletic eligibility because he has not played for the Utes this season.
Long before he was a leader and double-digit scorer for one of the best teams in the nation, London Perrantes was a youth star in Santa Monica.
Perrantes attended Encino-Crespi Carmelite for high school but grew up playing in the biddy basketball leagues run by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica.
The 6-foot-2 junior guard is now a key player for top-seeded Virginia (26-7), which will face No. 16 Hampton (21-10) in the opening round at 12:10 p.m. Thursday in Raleigh.