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Economics of the NCAA tournament

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

At the beginning of the tournament I broke down how conferences earn money in the Dance. Now that we're to the Final Four, we can actually calculate what Florida State will receive this year.

Every team that participates earns money based on the number of games they play. But the NCAA didn't want announcers doing their best golf imitation and informing the viewers how many dollars were on the line for each late game free throw. So they instituted a six-year rolling window where the conference results are averaged across this year's event and the previous five, which diminishes the value of any one game. Every game that a team participates in is considered a ‘Unit' (with the exception of the Final and the game following a play-in game). So each team can earn a maximum of five Units in any one Tournament, and the value of each Unit is determined by the Revenue Distribution Plan written by the NCAA. Got it?

The rolling six-year window means that the 2009 tourney is now off the books, and unfortunately that was worth 14 units, which was the ACC's best show in recent memory.

Luckily, greener pastures may be ahead. The ACC had several teams make deep runs this year, and that may be the norm for the future, as the conference is absolutely stacked next year.

The SEC and Big Ten have all the money in large part because of their networks, but a number of those programs are in disarray. If the ACC is going to become a basketball super conference, now is the time.

Regardless, the ACC earned 21 units this year. I haven't found a year where any conference earned more. With that type of success, it's not hard to envision $2 million dollar payouts in the future.

Regardless, here is the final chart for this season. The numbers are approximations, as the value of units changes every season, but it should be close.

Virginia Tech and Boston College, you're welcome.

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Total Value
Duke 5 3 1 4 1 5 19 $4,902,000
North Carolina 4 4 2 2 3 15 $3,870,000
NC State 3 1 1 3 8 $2,064,000
Florida State 1 3 2 6 $1,548,000
Virginia 1 3 2 6 $1,548,000
Notre Dame 4 4 $1,032,000
Louisville 4 4 $1,032,000
Clemson 1 2 3 $774,000
Miami 3 3 $774,000
Maryland 2 2 $516,000
Wake Forest 2 2 $516,000
Georgia Tech 2 2 $516,000
Syracuse 2 2 $516,000
Boston College 0 $0
Virginia Tech 0 $0
Pittsburgh 0 $0
13 12 11 10 9 21 76 $19,608,000
PAYOUT $  1,307,200