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Sixteen Remaining in Buffett-Backed Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Sixteen people are still dancing in Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge, the company said on Twitter around 4:45 p.m. ET. For the sweet 16 left with a perfect bracket as the first round of the NCAA mens college basketball tournament draws to a close, odds are low that anyone will collect the $1 billion being offered by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) for any perfect brackets.



In March, Detroit-based Quicken Loans, the nation's third largest mortgage lender said it would team with Yahoo! Sports on a challenge to share $1 billion among anyone filling out a perfect bracket.

That payout was offered by the insurance division of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate run by Warren Buffett. Often called 'The Oracle of Omaha,' Buffett wasn't likely to make a payout.

"I have been astonished by the response to Quicken Loans' challenge, and the millions of people who have shown an interest in participating," Buffett said earlier in March. "While I wouldn't be thrilled to hand over a billion dollars, I think it will definitely add even more excitement to the college basketball tournament this year."

Odds of a winner are below one-in-a-trillion. Quicken Loans increased the maximum number of contest entries to 15 million earlier in March, given higher-than-expected demand.

In addition to the potential $1 billion grand prize, Quicken Loans will award $100,000 to each of the contest's 20 most accurate 'imperfect' brackets to use toward buying, refinancing or remodeling a home. The company also committed to give $1 million to charities in the Detroit and Cleveland markets, to aid in urban youth education initiatives as part of its Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge.

Currently, upsets of Duke University, Ohio State and New Mexico stand out as among the biggest bracket busters just over a day into the tournament.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York

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