Being the least lucrative team has never meant less on the outcome of a tournament than it does in March Madness. Take the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles as a recent example. Florida Gulf Coast men's basketball generates just $2,935,004 in revenue but made a magical run to the regional semifinal in 2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament, the team's first-ever tournament appearance.
Thus, how much a team is worth doesn't spell your fate in March Madness. Here's a look at the 10 least valuable teams in Division I men's basketball to make the 2017 NCAA Basketball Tournament, according to the U.S. Department of Education. One of them just could be a Cinderella story this year.
The least valuable basketball teams in March Madness
The least valuable basketball teams in March Madness
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY: $1,505,306
The Kent State Golden Flashes (22-13) are seeded at No. 14 and will play No. 3 seed UCLA (29-4) in the first round of the South region on Friday, March 17. Both teams each went 9-1 in their last 10 games, though UCLA might have the advantage due to the team's freshman guard sensation, Lonzo Ball.
Kent State won the Mid-American Conference championship over Akron on March 11 to secure an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. This will be Kent State's sixth tournament appearance and its first since 2008.
The Jacksonville State University Gamecocks (located in Alabama) earned a No. 15 seed in the Midwest region by winning the Ohio Valley Conference. The team's reward? A brutal match up against No. 2 seed Louisville (24-8), which is the wealthiest men's basketball program in the country and generates an annual revenue of $47,060,673.
The Gamecocks finished the regular season with a 20-14 record. The team will play the Cardinals in Indianapolis on Friday at 2:45 p.m. EST. This will be Jacksonville State's first ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANS: $2,071,791
The New Orleans Privateers (20-11) were one of the First Four teams seeded at No. 16. In a down-to-the-wire finish, the Privateers lost 67-66 to Mount St. Mary's (19-15) in Dayton on March 14.
New Orleans won the Southland Conference under the guidance of Southland Conference Coach of the Year Mark Slessinger and Conference Player of the Year Erik Thomas. This was the team's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1996.
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA: $2,264,676
The North Dakota Fighting Hawks (22-9) won the Big Sky Conference to advance to the team's first ever NCAA Tournament. The team is seeded No. 15 and will open its run against No. 2 seed Arizona (30-4) in the West.
Tip-off against Arizona is slated for Thursday, March 16, at 9:50 p.m. EST in Salt Lake City, Utah.
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: $2,271,900
Princeton finished the regular season at 23-6 and is seeded No. 12 in the West. The Tigers' first March Madness game is scheduled for Thursday, March 16, against No. 5 seed Notre Dame (25-9) in Buffalo, New York.
Princeton went 14-0 in Ivy League play this season — winning the Ivy League Tournament over Yale. In its history, Princeton has only made one Final Four appearance. Most recently, Princeton lost in the first round to Kentucky in 2011.
NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL UNIVERSITY: $2,473,209
North Carolina Central (25-8) will play in the First Four game against UC Davis (22-12) in Dayton, Ohio, at 6:40 p.m. EST on March 15. Both teams are vying for the No. 16 seed in the Midwest region. The winner of the matchup will have to play No. 1 seed, Kansas (28-4).
North Carolina Central won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference over Norfolk State University. This is North Carolina Central's second NCAA Tournament appearance since moving to Division I.
Winthrop University earned a No. 13 seed and will face No. 4 seed Butler on March 16 at 1:30 p.m. in Milwaukee. The Winthrop Eagles (26-6) are in the South region.
Winthrop won the Big South Conference, ending its streak of losing the championship game three years in a row. The Eagles will appear in the NCAA Basketball Tournament for the first time since 2010.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY: $2,577,379
The South Dakota State University Jackrabbits (18-16) are a 16 seed and will play No. 1 seed Gonzaga (32-1) in the West region. The first round matchup is slated for March 16 at 2 p.m. EST in Salt Lake City.
Gonzaga was the last remaining undefeated team in NCAA Division I men's hoops until finally losing its last regular season game against Brigham Young University. Nevertheless, the Bulldogs won the West Coast Conference and remained the top seed in the NCAA Tournament.
As for the Jackrabbits, this will be the team's fourth NCAA Tournament appearance after claiming the Summit League Championship.
MOUNT ST. MARY’S UNIVERSITY: $2,717,767
First Four contender Mount St. Mary's beat New Orleans, 67-66, to become the No. 16 in the East region. The Mountaineers will tip off against reigning champions and No. 1 overall seed Villanova (31-3) on March 16 at 7:10 p.m. EST
Mount St. Mary's finished the regular season with a 19-15 record and the Northeast Conference Championship. This is their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance.
NORTHERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY: $2,828,249
The Northern Kentucky Norse (24-10) are the 15-seed in the South region and will play No. 2 seed Kentucky (29-5) in the first round. The game tips off on Friday, March 17, at 9:40 p.m. EST from Indianapolis.
Northern Kentucky won the Horizon League and will make its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance in what is the program's first season of eligibility.