For the sixth year, Inside Higher Ed presents the Academic Performance Tournament — our take on what the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament would look like if teams advanced based on their outcomes in the classroom.
The winners in our bracket were determined using the NCAA’s multi-year Academic Progress Rate, a nationally comparable score that gives points to teams whose players stay in good academic standing and remain enrolled from semester to semester. Ties were broken using the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate, which considers transfers and does not punish teams whose athletes leave college before graduation if they leave in good academic standing.
Our method of picking winners has given us some long-shot champions. Our first three champions were Bucknell, Holy Cross and Davidson. Our past two champions, however, were perennial favorites North Carolina and Kansas.
This year’s winner of our tournament would normally be considered a long shot. But, after they came within a last-second basket of winning the actual tournament last year, they aren’t likely to be underrated anytime soon.
Click the image below to reveal the entire bracket.