Gregg Nigl, 40, of Columbus, has a perfect bracket through 48 games, the most consecutive games anyone has ever correctly predicted in NCAA.com's tournament challenge.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gregg Nigl almost didn’t fill out his March Madness bracket on NCAA.com’s “Bracket Challenge.”

Now, he’s made history.

Nigl, 40, of Columbus, has a perfect bracket through 48 games of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the most consecutive games anyone has ever correctly predicted in NCAA.com’s tournament challenge.

He learned about his perfect bracket Monday night, when NCAA.com reporter Daniel Wilco tracked him down.

“We couldn’t believe it. My wife [Casandra] was sitting next to me, and I had it on speaker phone,” Nigl said. “I kept asking, ‘How do I know this is not a joke?’”

Nigl got on his computer and “saw my bracket, and it was all green. It was pretty wild.”

It’s pretty unlikely, too. The odds of a perfect bracket are up for debate. Some say it’s 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Others say it’s 1 in 2.4 trillion. Another estimate is 1 in 2 billion.

It all depends on who you ask.

If you treated every game as a 50-50 probability, the odds of Nigl making it this far are 1 in 281 trillion, said Tim Chartier, a math professor at Davidson College, a private liberal-arts college in North Carolina.

For context on that number, you’d have to multiply the number of red blood cells in the human body by 14 to get 281 trillion, said Chartier, who each March helps students develop algorithms to predict NCAA Tournament games.

“It’s a neat occurrence, but it would really be remarkable if it held,” he said of Nigl’s tourney bracket.

Whatever the actual odds, the point is that picking all 63 NCAA Tournament games correctly is ridiculously improbable. In all of the major online tournament challenges, no one has ever done it. Which might lead some to cite the movie “Dumb and Dumber” and Jim Carrey’s infamous line: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?”

Nigl, at this point, is as close as anyone has gotten. (In 2010, someone also made it to the Sweet 16 with a perfect bracket intact, but CBS never verified it).

On Thursday morning, hours before the deadline to submit brackets, Nigl was sick and lying in bed. A neuropsychologist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Columbus, Nigl called off work.

He was about to go back to sleep but said he would’ve felt bad if he didn’t enter a bracket in his friend’s tournament group.

“I was half asleep and sick,” he said.

He filled it out anyway. Now he’s 48 for 48.

Nigl, who has lived in Columbus for 10 years, admits there is luck involved, but he’s also a college basketball fan and put some thought into his picks.

While he watches mostly Big Ten games during the season, Nigl said he did his homework after the tournament field was unveiled, including watching some of the bracketology shows on TV.

In addition to his historic bracket, two of Nigl’s other three brackets are in first place in their groups.

His third, which was heavy on upset picks, hasn’t fared as well in a tournament in which 12 of the 16 remaining teams are either No. 1, 2 or 3 seeds.

In his perfect bracket, Nigl has Gonzaga, No. 1 seed, beating Kentucky, a No. 2 seed, for the national title. Duke and Virginia, both No. 1 seeds, round out his Final Four.

Nigl has been watching the games closely. In fact, while traveling this past weekend, he and his wife made a pit stop at a brewery in Erie, Pennsylvania, to watch Michigan play Florida in the round of 32. Nigl, who grew up in Michigan, is a lifelong Wolverines fan.

The odds of Nigl correctly predicting the final 15 games are about 1 in 32,786, if each game had a 50-50 probability, said Sheldon H. Jacobson, a professor of computer science at the University of Illinois who helps run a website called “Bracket Odds.”

“Once you reach the Elite Eight, the games become more like toss-ups, so the chances of getting all those games (right) starts to drop really, really fast,” he said. “Even though you have fewer games, each of those games is more unpredictable.”

Nigl isn’t counting on his bracket staying perfect.

“I’m not very confident that it will stay that way,” Nigl said. “But anything can happen.”