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The March Madness Bracket, If Winning Were Based on College Endowment

A college’s endowment is the money or other financial assets donated to that college, usually by alumni. That money is invested in the hopes that it will make more money for the school and the investors. Basically, the schools with the wealthiest graduates tend to have the highest endowment.

So what would happen if the teams in the NCAA tournament were forced to compete based on this endowment? Who would come out the victor of these new-found richness olympics?

First the regionals:


And the Final Four:


No real surprise that the most prestigious college in the country (and maybe the world) would come out on top. But there were some surprises along the way.

  • The school in the field of…64(ish) with the smallest endowment is Coastal Carolina ($25M)
  • Who knew Virginia Commonwealth was so…wealthy? ($1.3B)
  • And who would have thought Arizona was so poor? ($665M)
  • The East is by far the poorest regional, with the entire top portion of the bracket in the millions.
  • No school west of the Mississippi is represented in the Final Four.
  • In fact, only one western school made the final 8. (UCLA)
  • Virginia is the only public school in the Final Four.
  • Harvard’s endowment is bigger than half of the world’s economies. In technical terms, that’s a shit load of money.

Congrats to Harvard. Better luck next year, poor schools.

All endowment figures are taken from

Matt is a senior editor at Follow him on twitter: @mattsurely

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