The Money Bracket: What If the Richest Team Won?


March Madness is big business. The tournament rakes in $1 billion in ad sales, $771 million in broadcast rights, and a countless amount in office pool payouts that you never win. (Players will make $0, though a select few are compensated in torn nylon.) Here’s what two NCAA tournament brackets would look like if teams advanced by measures other than points scored: total athletic revenue and total men’s basketball expenses per win this season.

Revenue
What’s amazing about filling out a bracket based on athletic department wealth (see above) is how similar it looks to a bracket based on real tournament predictions. The school with the least revenue, Mount St. Mary’s at $7.5 million, doesn’t even make it out of the play-in game with Albany (a result that mirrors real life). Deep-pocketed Texas emerges from a difficult region (Texas, Michigan, and Tennessee all have nine-figure revenues, with Louisville coming close) to take home the trophy.

Win Cost
By taking a school’s total men’s basketball expenses, we can figure out how much each team spent per win this season. North Carolina Central, with its relatively small budget and 28-5 record, spent only about $34,000 on each victory. (This ignores strength of schedule—wins in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference can be easier to come by than wins in a more powerful conference). On the other end, Ohio State took home the “least efficient” title, dropping more than $750,000 per win. Five other teams—Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Syracuse, and Oklahoma State—also broke the half-million-per-victory mark.

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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