03.13.11

March Madness: Which Team Is Smartest?

As the NCAA college basketball tournament kicks off, The Daily Beast ranks all 68 teams based on their grades and graduation rates, from first to worst. Click here for the smart bracket.

The sports high holiday known as March Madness returns tomorrow. But the NCAA college basketball tournament is more than friendly competition—it rivals the Super Bowl as the most-wagered upon athletic event, as brackets fan out across every office, school and website in America.

With thought we might look at the tournament bracket with a more academic bent. With all the concentration on the court, we thought we'd examine how the 68 teams in the tournament fare academically. To find out which schools are faltering, The Daily Beast considered all 68 college teams in this year’s March Madness according to their graduation success rate (GSR), Academic Progress Rate (APR) for both the most recent year available as well as the multi-year, four-year average score, and the head coach’s career APR. All four metrics, calculated and provided by the NCAA, were weighted equally.

The Academic Progress Rate is a metric, measured out of 1,000, of academic eligibility (grades) and retention for student athletes that's designed to predict ultimate graduation rates. The NCAA graduation success rate is a measure of graduation, which differs from the federal measure by allowing schools to count students who transfer in as well as students who left with eligibility. GSR is only calculated for the students on scholarship. (For this reason, Princeton has no available GSR because it does not offer athletic scholarships. The Daily Beast projected a score based on its Academic Progress Rate scores for the purpose of its ranking on this list. Similar projections were made for teams who had new coaches without a track record.)

While the NCAA penalizes a team if players don’t perform in the classroom (or if they leave school altogether), it’s far from a faultless system. There’s little incentive for students to stay in school should the promise of pro ball come calling—their school will be punished only once they have left the campus. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan argued last year that any team unable to graduate at least 40 percent of their players should be barred from participation in March Madness, though the suggestion didn’t gain traction.. If it had, Temple, the University of Connecticut and the University of Arizona would be benched, among others. To see how your favorite ranks, see below.

Gallery: The Top 25 Smartest Teams in the Tournament

See the Full List Here

#1, Princeton University

Coach: Sydney Johnson
NCAA Seed: 13

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 996
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 100
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 1,000

#2, Brigham Young University

Coach: Dave Rose
NCAA Seed: 3

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 995
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 100
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 995.75

#3, Belmont

Coach: Rick Byrd
NCAA Seed: 13

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 995
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 100
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 990.5

#4, Notre Dame

Coach: Mike Brey
NCAA Seed: 2

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 983
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 100
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 980.83

#5, Villanova

Coach: Jay Wright
NCAA Seed: 9

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 980
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 978
Graduation Success Rate: 100
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 986.33

#6, Illinois

Coach: Bruce Webber
NCAA Seed: 9

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 979
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 980
Graduation Success Rate: 100
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 982.5

#7, Wofford

Coach: Mike Young
NCAA Seed: 14

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 972
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 100
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 960

#8, Xavier

Coach: Chris Mack
NCAA Seed: 6

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 985
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 92
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 1,000

#9, Bucknell

Coach: Dave Paulsen
NCAA Seed: 14

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 994
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 91
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 1,000

#10, Vanderbilt

Coach: Kevin Stallings
NCAA Seed: 5

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 980
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 93
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 977.67

#11, Utah State

Coach: Stew Morrill
NCAA Seed: 12

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 946
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 979
Graduation Success Rate: 100
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 931.67

#12, North Carolina

Coach: Roy Williams
NCAA Seed: 2

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 995
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 88
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 992.83

#13, University of Arkansas, Little Rock

Coach: Steve Shields
NCAA Seed: 16

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 962
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 981
Graduation Success Rate: 92
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 956.17

#14, Boston University

Coach: Patrick Chambers
NCAA Seed: 16

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 964
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 980
Graduation Success Rate: 90
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 980

#15, Marquette

Coach: Buzz Williams
NCAA Seed: 11

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 975
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 980
Graduation Success Rate: 91
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 945.5

#16, Penn State

Coach: Ed DeChellis
NCAA Seed: 10

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 995
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 86
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 971.5

#17, Butler

Coach: Brad Stevens
NCAA Seed: 8

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 1,000
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 83
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 1,000

#18, Duke

Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
NCAA Seed: 1

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 980
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 83
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 983.17

#19, Kansas

Coach: Bill Self
NCAA Seed: 1

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 1,000
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 80
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 984.17

#20, Northern Colorado

Coach: B.J. Hill
NCAA Seed: 15

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 926
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 941
Graduation Success Rate: 92
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 941*

#21, Richmond

Coach: Chris Mooney
NCAA Seed: 12

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 967
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 83
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 969.2

#22, Gonzaga

Coach: Mark Few
NCAA Seed: 11

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 976
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 73
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 977.33

#23, Long Island University

Coach: Jim Ferry
NCAA Seed: 15

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 940
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 980
Graduation Success Rate: 78
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 947.83

#24, Oakland

Coach: Greg Kampe
NCAA Seed: 13

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 962
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 981
Graduation Success Rate: 75
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 951.67

#25, St. John’s

Coach: Steve Lavin
NCAA Seed: 6

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 961
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 979
Graduation Success Rate: 70
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 1,000*

#26, West Virginia

Coach: Bob Huggins
NCAA Seed: 5

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 990
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 71
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 935.75

#27, George Mason

Coach: Jim Larranaga
NCAA Seed: 8

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 995
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 67
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 971.83

#28, Georgetown

Coach: John Thompson III
NCAA Seed: 6

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 937
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 929
Graduation Success Rate: 78
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 939

#29, Wisconsin

Coach: Bo Ryan
NCAA Seed: 4

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 966
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 70
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 953.33

#30, Florida State

Coach: Leonard Hamilton
NCAA Seed: 10

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 944
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 979
Graduation Success Rate: 73
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 950.33

#31, UC Santa Barbara

Coach: Bob Williams
NCAA Seed: 15

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 902
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 979
Graduation Success Rate: 77
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 910.83

#32, Clemson

Coach: Brad Brownell
NCAA Seed: 12

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 946
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 918
Graduation Success Rate: 71
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 986.6

#33, Hampton University

Coach: Edward Joyner
NCAA Seed: 16

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 948
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 979
Graduation Success Rate: 67
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 979*

#34, Texas A&M

Coach: Mark Turgeon
NCAA Seed: 7

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 986
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 980
Graduation Success Rate: 64
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 961.6

#35, UCLA

Coach: Ben Howland
NCAA Seed: 7

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 968
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 930
Graduation Success Rate: 70
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 939.5

#36, Purdue

Coach: Matt Painter
NCAA Seed: 3

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 919
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 67
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 916.75

#37, Old Dominion

Coach: Blaine Taylor
NCAA Seed: 9

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 947
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 980
Graduation Success Rate: 63
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 961.5

#38, UNLV

Coach: Lon Kruger
NCAA Seed: 8

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 947
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 943
Graduation Success Rate: 67
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 923

#39, Memphis

Coach: Josh Pastner
NCAA Seed: 12

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 979
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 980
Graduation Success Rate: 58
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 980*

#40, Ohio State

Coach: Thad Matta
NCAA Seed: 1

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 929
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 979
Graduation Success Rate: 64
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 924.4

#41, Pittsburgh

Coach: Jamie Dixon
NCAA Seed: 1

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 962
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 922
Graduation Success Rate: 64
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 941.33

#42, Indiana State

Coach: Greg Lansing
NCAA Seed: 14

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 935
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 923
Graduation Success Rate: 67
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 923*

#43, St. Peter’s

Coach: John Dunne
NCAA Seed: 14

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 928
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 881
Graduation Success Rate: 70
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 898.33

#44, Michigan State

Coach: Tom Izzo
NCAA Seed: 10

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 1,000
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 50
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 975.67

#45, VCU

Coach: Shaka Smart
NCAA Seed: 11

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 975
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 940
Graduation Success Rate: 56
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 960*

#46, Cincinnati

Coach: Mick Cronin
NCAA Seed: 6

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 945
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 990
Graduation Success Rate: 53
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 960.8

#47, San Diego State

Coach: Steve Fisher
NCAA Seed: 2

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 921
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 941
Graduation Success Rate: 58
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 934.17

#48, UNC Asheville

Coach: Eddie Biedenbach
NCAA Seed: 16

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 960
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 978
Graduation Success Rate: 50
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 957.17

#49, University of Washington

Coach: Lorenzo Romar
NCAA Seed: 7

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 990
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 44
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 954

#50, Missouri

Coach: Mike Anderson
NCAA Seed: 11

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 979
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 44
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 956.6

#51, Louisville

Coach: Rick Pitino
NCAA Seed: 4

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 951
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 923
Graduation Success Rate: 50
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 956.2

#52, Texas

Coach: Rick Barnes
NCAA Seed: 4

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 1,000
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 42
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 945.67

#53, Alabama State

Coach: Lewis Jackson
NCAA Seed: 16

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 907
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 826
Graduation Success Rate: 63
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 908.75

#54, University of Texas-San Antonio

Coach: Brooks Thompson
NCAA Seed: 16

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 885
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 963
Graduation Success Rate: 50
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 923.33

#55, Syracuse

Coach: Jim Boeheim
NCAA Seed: 3

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 912
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 865
Graduation Success Rate: 54
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 933.5

#56, University of Southern California

Coach: Kevin O’Neill
NCAA Seed: 11

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 924
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 980
Graduation Success Rate: 42
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 980

#57, Florida

Coach: Billy Donovan
NCAA Seed: 2

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 956
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 957
Graduation Success Rate: 44
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 940

#58, Kentucky

Coach: John Calipari
NCAA Seed: 4

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 954
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 922
Graduation Success Rate: 44
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 941.6

#59, University of Akron

Coach: Keith Dambrot
NCAA Seed: 15

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 951
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 38
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 953

#60, Tennessee

Coach: Bruce Pearl
NCAA Seed: 9

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 935
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 40
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 930

#61, Michigan

Coach: John Beilen
NCAA Seed: 8

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 956
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 1,000
Graduation Success Rate: 36
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 949.6

#62, Kansas State

Coach: Frank Martin
NCAA Seed: 5

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 924
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 958
Graduation Success Rate: 40
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 960.5

#63, Morehead State

Coach: Donnie Tyndall
NCAA Seed: 13

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 906
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 960
Graduation Success Rate: 43
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 927

#64, Georgia

Coach: Mark Fox
NCAA Seed: 10

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 944
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 980
Graduation Success Rate: 36
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 945.5

#65, Temple

Coach: Fran Dunphy
NCAA Seed: 7

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 934
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 939
Graduation Success Rate: 33
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 963.8

#66, Arizona

Coach: Sean Miller
NCAA Seed: 5

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 944
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 933
Graduation Success Rate: 20
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 980.33

#67, Connecticut

Coach: Jim Calhoun
NCAA Seed: 3

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 930
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 844
Graduation Success Rate: 31
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 923.67

#68, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Coach: Mike Davis
NCAA Seed: 12

Multi-year Academic Progress Rate: 825
2008-2009 Academic Progreess Rate: 732
Graduation Success Rate: 25
Coach Career Average Academic Progress Rate: 859.4