Yep, it is that time again! Time to get your March Madness bracket together and see how well you fare against your friends and co-workers. Although the nation’s best men’s college basketball teams will meet for their chance at championship glory, only one will demonstrate its superiority in the end. Their name will be hung in the proverbial rafters with history’s very best.

But this got us wondering here at ClassesAndCareers.com how these top basketball colleges fare in terms of academics. After the last point has appeared on the scoreboard, after the winning team has cut down the net, which of these winning colleges go the distance in terms of having decent acceptance policies, helping students graduate on time, and getting them rewarding careers after graduation?

To figure this out, we took the top 25 NCAA basketball champion schools of all time and scored them based on their acceptance rates, four-year graduation rates, and their annual return on investment after graduation (in other words, how much students earn compared to how much they paid for college).

1. University of Kansas

Total championships: 3
4-year graduation rate: 37%
Acceptance rate: 92.3%
Annual ROI: 7.4%
Total score: 65%


Coming in at a tight first place, University of Kansas scores because of its high acceptance rate (nearly everyone who applies for admission) and its impressive ROI. Add those to the fact that this college has taken home three national championships and you have a slam dunk. (Sorry, we had to say it!)

2. Michigan State University

Total championships: 2
4-year graduation rate: 53%
Acceptance rate: 70.6%
Annual ROI: 7.5%
Total score: 64%


This one nearly went into overtime for the top spot. While it has an impressive acceptance rate and annual ROI, it’s the high four-year graduation rate that really put this one head to head with Kansas.

3. Villanova University

Total championships: 1
4-year graduation rate: 85%
Acceptance rate: 46%
Annual ROI: 6.2%
Total score: 62%


Talk about dominating graduation rates. Many schools on this list struggle to graduate 30 percent of their students within four years. Not Villanova. At this college, graduation in four years is the standard.

4. University of Maryland

Total championships: 1
4-year graduation rate: 63%
Acceptance rate: 47%
Annual ROI: 8.5%
Total score: 61.9%

5. University of Michigan

Total championships: 1
4-year graduation rate: 76%
Acceptance rate: 37%
Annual ROI: 8.1%
Total score: 61.6%

6. Loyola University–Chicago

Total championships: 1
4-year graduation rate: 60%
Acceptance rate: 81%
Annual ROI: 4.5%
Total score: 60.4%

7. University of Arizona

Total championships: 1
4-year graduation rate: 35%
Acceptance rate: 77%
Annual ROI: 7.6%
Total score: 59.9%

8. Oklahoma State University

Total championships: 2
4-year graduation rate: 35%
Acceptance rate: 78%
Annual ROI: 7.5%
Total score: 59.8%

9. University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill

Total championships: 5
4-year graduation rate: 77%
Acceptance rate: 27.6%
Annual ROI: 7.8%
Total score: 58%

10. Indiana University

Total championships: 5
4-year graduation rate: 55%
Acceptance rate: 74%
Annual ROI: 4.8%
Total score: 57.4%

11. University of San Francisco

Total championships: 2
4-year graduation rate: 54%
Acceptance rate: 69%
Annual ROI: 5.4%
Total score: 57.1%

12. Marquette University

Total championships: 1
4-year graduation rate: 60%
Acceptance rate: 55%
Annual ROI: 5.9%
Total score: 56%

13. University of Connecticut

Total championships: 3
4-year graduation rate: 67%
Acceptance rate: 45%
Annual ROI: 6.0%
Total score: 55%

14. Syracuse University

Total championships: 1
4-year graduation rate: 69%
Acceptance rate: 51%
Annual ROI: 5.0%
Total score: 54.9%

15. University of Texas–El Paso

Total championships: 1
4-year graduation rate: 11%
Acceptance rate: 99.8%
Annual ROI: 5.6%
Total score: 53.6%

16. University of Kentucky

Total championships: 8
4-year graduation rate: 31%
Acceptance rate: 67%
Annual ROI: 6.9%
Total score: 53.3%

17. University of Louisville

Total championships: 3
4-year graduation rate: 26%
Acceptance rate: 76%
Annual ROI: 6.4%
Total score: 53.1%

18. University of Florida

Total championships: 2
4-year graduation rate: 64%
Acceptance rate: 44%
Annual ROI: 5.7%
Total score: 53.0%

19. Duke University

Total championships: 4
4-year graduation rate: 87%
Acceptance rate: 13%
Annual ROI: 6.4%
Total score: 52.5%

20. Georgetown University

Total championships: 1
4-year graduation rate: 89%
Acceptance rate: 17%
Annual ROI: 5.6%
Total score: 52%

21. University of Arkansas

Total championships: 1
4-year graduation rate: 35%
Acceptance rate: 63%
Annual ROI: 6.4%
Total score: 51.8%

22. University of Nevada–Las Vegas

Total championships: 1
4-year graduation rate: 15%
Acceptance rate: 88%
Annual ROI: 5.2%
Total score: 49.8%

23. University of Cincinnati

Total championships: 2
4-year graduation rate: 24%
Acceptance rate: 67%
Annual ROI: 6.5%
Total score: 49.7%

24. North Carolina State University

Total championships: 2
4-year graduation rate: 39%
Acceptance rate: 50%
Annual ROI: 6.7%
Total score: 49.5%

25. University of California–Los Angeles

Total championships: 11
4-year graduation rate: 71%
Acceptance rate: 22%
Annual ROI: 5.4%
Total score: 47%

While this is no second-rate school by any stretch of the imagination, this top-winning university comes in last out of the top 25 schools. This is due to a low acceptance rate. High tuition at the university also brings down graduates’ ROI. Still, there’s no arguing with their basketball record.


Sources:
http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges
http://www.payscale.com/college-education-value-2013

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