– Interest in this month’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, otherwise known as March Madness could lead to nearly $2 billion in losses in nationwide workplace productivity, according to global outplace firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. The forecasts are drastically higher than estimates from the Chicago-based firm before last year’s tournament when it predicted that the three-week event would cause roughly $1.2 billion in lost production. The losses stem from the inordinate amount time spent filling out a bracket, to live streaming of afternoon games during work hours, to even frequent water cooler discussions in the office place that distract employees from assignments at work. Top-ranked Kentucky is seeking to become the first undefeated team to win the tournament since Indiana in 1976. “That figure may be on the conservative side, considering this year could garner a lot more interest from even casual basketball fans eager to see if Kentucky can continue its undefeated season through the tournament,” CEO John A. Challenger said in a statement. The American Gaming Association estimates that more than 40 million Americans will fill out a bracket this week, wagering a total of $9 billion on the popular sporting event. It is nearly impossible to pick a perfect bracket, with odds set at one in 9.2 quintillion. Of the last 30 NCAA champions, 22 have been No. 1 or No. 2 seeds. Kentucky has been installed as an overwhelming 6-5 favorite to win the title, the biggest favorite in modern tournament history.