By Brent Batten

So, what were the chances of a school like Florida Gulf Coast University beating a school like Georgetown in an NCAA tournament basketball game?

Not good.

Not good, like one in four?

More like one in 20.

I get it. I hear what you’re saying. Yes! They have a chance!

FGCU’s men’s basketball tournament prospects are considerably better than Lloyd Christmas’s chances of ending up with a girl like Mary Swanson in “Dumb and Dumber” (a movie that got snubbed by the Oscars worse than Tennessee got snubbed by the selection committee) but they’re still not great.

R.J. Bell of points out that over the years, 15 seeds like FGCU have six wins against 106 losses in games against a two seed like Georgetown. The teams meet Friday in Philadelphia.

But the 5 percent success rate of 15 seeds looks pretty good compared to some of the other statistics swirling around the tournament, which begins tonight with the first of four “play in” games.

Never has a 16 seed beaten a one seed, for instance.

Even with a success rate standing at zero, a 16 seed has a better chance of winning a game than you or I have at filling out a tournament bracket correctly. Our ability to analyze and make educated guesses is offset by our tendency to pick The Old Alma Mater, a nine seed, to make the Final Four.

Bell calculates that there are more than 9 quintillion possible combinations of winnersand losers in the 64-team bracket.

According to Bell, “If one bracket per second was filled out, it would take 292 billion years to fill out all possible brackets.

“If all the people on Earth filled out one bracket per second, it would take over 43 years to fill out every possible bracket.

“If everyone on the planet each randomly filled out a bracket, the odds would be over 1 billion to 1 against any person having a perfect bracket.”

Against that backdrop FGCU’s chances are looking better by the second.

Las Vegas betting odds on FGCU to win the tournament stand at 150 to one. If you bet $10 on the Eagles and they happen to win, you would get $1,500 back.

By comparison, in the Florida Lottery Powerball game, your odds of getting one number plus the Powerball are about 110 to one. So while you have a slightly better chance of hitting that as the Eagles do of winning the tournament, a $10 bet would net you only $20 in the lottery.

While we’re being optimistic, consider that bettors see FGCU as one of the better early matchups in the tournament.

When setting odds for individual games, bookmakers establish a point spread, the amount by which they expect the better team to win. As more and more people bet, the bookmakers will adjust the point spread in an effort to achieve their goal of equal amounts of money wagered on each team.

The spread when the FGCU-Georgetown matchup was first announced was 14.5 points. But by Monday morning the figure had dropped to 12.5 points, meaning a lot of people were betting FGCU could stay within 14 points of the Hoyas, ranked as the fifth best team in the nation by The Associated Press and USA Today.

The two-point swing was the biggest in any of the early betting, Bell reports.

Early love from the bettors, odds better than the lottery, FGCU has the makings of a real Cinderella. Or at least a Mary Swanson.