The NCAA Tournament brings together 68 college basketball teams from a wide variety of backgrounds across the country. Some represent powerful blue-blood schools such as Duke, which boasts a storied basketball program to go along with its internationally recognized academic standing. Others are tiny regional schools who don't recruit many student-athletes (or students in general) from more than a couple hours away from campus.
The chaotic nature of March Madness doesn't favor either sort of school. A superior academic ranking certainly doesn't guarantee a better basketball team, as is demonstrated by the squads with the two highest U.S News & World Report academic rankings in this year's field -- the University of Pennsylvania (No. 16 seed) and Duke (No. 2 seed). If those two teams met to decide the national title in San Antonio, it'd be one of the greatest underdog stories of all time.
The U.S. News & World Report categorizes the schools in this year's tournament as national universities (52 schools), national liberal arts colleges (two) and regional universities (13), with only one institution not being mentioned by the premier academic ranking outlet. We listed them in the gallery below in descending order of their ranking by their respective grouping.
Click through to see the academic rankings of March Madness schools: