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“Average” Alumni Salaries Make Best NCAA Basketball Team


The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship is over, and Kansas won it all. Looking back at the prediction of the previous post, how well did university alumni salaries predict the "Final Four" games?

Like the "Sweet Sixteen", going with the school with lower graduates’ salaries picked the winner for 2 out of 3 games. If Memphis could have hit a few more free-throws, the prediction would have been 3/3. 🙂 This winning method is the inverse of the original bracket picks, where schools with higher paid alumni were predicted to win.

If we limit the prediction to only those games where one school was well above the average of schools in the tournament (about $70,000), then the prediction was 2 for 2. There was no preferred school for the final game, since neither school has alumni who earn over the tournament average. The median alumni salaries (pay of graduates with 5 to 15 years of experience), from lowest to highest, for the "Final Four" schools are:

School Name Seed Salary Result
Memphis 1 $59,100 2nd
Kansas 1 $67,000 Winner!
North Carolina 1 $75,100 Lost Kansas
UCLA 1 $86,600 Lost Memphis

As predicted, UCLA and North Carolina lost in the Final Four round. Looks like Beer and BBQ makes for the kind of alumni support needed for a winning basketball team, not wine and cheese 🙂

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Kansas alumni had the median salary nearest to the tournament average; perhaps "average" alumni are best 🙂

It will be fun to see how well alumni salaries predict football games this fall.

If you want to do your part to change your school’s average alumni salary (up or down :-), the PayScale Salary Calculator is a quick and easy way to compare positions. When you want powerful salary data and comparisons customized for your exact position, be sure to build a complete profile by taking PayScale’s full salary survey.


Al Lee

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