NCAA Tournament Finance Bracket

Greetings, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Last year Dr. Humphreys posted this about Dr. Adler who had made a bracket using the data from the Equity in Athletics Website to choose winners of games in his NCAA bracket.  I decided that it might be worth a try this year to go ahead and do one myself, so using the same method, I used the most recent (but still somewhat out of date) data on total basketball expenses for each school in the NCAA tournament.  My resulting bracket was this:

For the second year in a row, the financial bracket has picked Duke to be the big winner, facing Florida in the national championship game.  The final four is rounded out by Kentucky and Kansas.  The financial bracket seems to do pretty well, putting two #1 seeds, a #2 seed and a #4 into the Final Four.  For the heck of things, I went ahead and submitted this bracket on yahoo, I’ll be curious to see what percentile it ranks this year.  I did note a few more interesting things from this bracket:

Biggest mismatch?:

Duke ($12.28 million) vs Hampton ($820,000).
Closer than we thought? St. John’s ($6.7m) vs Zags ($6.2)
Best matchups? (Closest values):
Butler ($2.82m) vs Old Dominion ($2.35m)
Arizona ($5.8m) and Memphis ($6.11).

Most efficient schools (i.e. effective schools that have the money to spend, but don’t spend too much):
Illinois $4.1m
Purdue $3.4m
Notre Dame $4.0m
Ohio St. $4.55m

High Rollers:

Duke: $12.28m
Kentucky $11.57m
Kansas $10.98m
Xavier $10.05m
Marquette $8.18m

George Mason $7.39m

Highest Valued first round game (most combined spending on basketball by two teams):

Xavier vs Marquette (combined $18.23m spent on basketball).

In all of this, it is quite clear that there are teams which are spending heavily to try and ensure success on the court, Duke and Kansas seem to have benefited from this in the last several years, and Xavier and George Mason (considered to be relatively smaller schools) have had good runs in the tournament.  I find it curious that many of the midwest schools tended to be more stingy in their use of money, especially those teams in the Big Ten.  Of the Big Ten teams in the tournament, Wisconsin was the big spender with $7.5 million.  Even Michigan St who is seen as perennial power spent only $4.9 million.

I did do another bracket which I didn’t post which examined Total overall spending in athletics at each university.  That Final Four ended up with Ohio St. vs Texas and Notre Dame vs Florida.  Texas beat Florida in the “championship” by spending around $130 million in a single season on athletics.  Notably, Florida was the only team to make Final Four in both of the brackets I did.

I’ll make sure to post an update of how this bracket does through the tournament.


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