Speed Reads

March Madness

Here's how the Sweet 16 would play out if the richest teams won every game

As the New York Yankees have shown time and again over the past decade and change, you can't always spend your way to a championship. But if you actually could, then Louisville would be a shoo-in to take the NCAA tournament: The Cardinals spent about $15.7 million on their men's basketball team last year, according to Department of Education data. But what about the rest of the Sweet 16 field? Applying that same criterion across the bracket, the tournament would play out like so:

As you'd expect, the big-name programs do pretty well by this metric. Poor Kentucky, though — they spent more on men's basketball than all but three other schools, but got stuck playing the richest team out of the gate. Heck, Kentucky head coach John Calipari's annual $5.4 million salary is more than the entire budgets of four of the remaining teams.

For a more direct comparison between the haves to the have-nots, here are the total expenses for the Sweet 16 teams charted alongside one another. --Jon Terbush