The nationwide pursuit of a perfect bracket — and subsequently, a billion-dollar payout from Warren Buffett — took a major hit Friday when Mercer knocked off Duke in the first round with a 78-71 upset win.

Here’s where things stand at the moment:

Granted, as The Post’s Cindy Boren pointed out prior to the NCAA Tournament  in a post about Buffet’s Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge:

The odds that an insurance company in Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway company will have to pay for the perfect bracket? 9.2 quintillion-to-1. … Chances are he’s aware of the fact that no one has had a perfect bracket in over 30 million entries in ESPN’s competition, which began in 1998. If it seems as if this is a slam dunk for Buffett and Quicken, that’s because it is, although Quicken will award $100,000 for each of the 20 most accurate brackets.

For those whose brackets did take a plunge following the Mercer win, Duke’s Amile Jefferson and Rodney Hood feel your pain.