Before titles are won and nets are cut down, we take a look at the top coaches in the land and whether they are earning their very handsome keep.
Business Insider's Cork Gaines broke down various coaches and their salaries this past December, giving fans an idea of what being a highly successful coach might garner in yearly earnings.
Gaines took the figures from USA Today's database of the highest coaching salaries. However, there are a couple of items to note.
First, as Gaines mentions, private colleges are not obligated to disclose salaries, so those coaches are not reflected. Second, the USA Today database features salaries for "coaches at the 68 schools that participated in the 2013 NCAA men's basketball tournament."
With that being said, we give you the top five coaches and their annual salaries (2013), combined with "Other Pay":
- Mike Krzyzewski (Duke) - $7,233,976
- John Calipari (Kentucky) - $5,400,000
- Rick Pitino (Louisville) - $4,973,343
- Bill Self (Kansas) - $4,960,763
- Tom Izzo (Michigan State) - $3,745,769
Note: John Calipari's salary does not feature in the USA Today database but is mentioned by Forbes and Business Insider.
The rest of the top 10 rounds out with the likes of Billy Donovan (Florida), Thad Matta (Ohio State), Tom Crean (Indiana), Buzz Williams (Marquette) and Steve Alford (UCLA).
The best and brightest programs—at least, a sizable portion of them—seem to be taking great care of their coaches, which leads to the obvious question of whether the mountain of millions is even worth it.
It's a question addressed by Forbes' Tom Van Riper, who, in March 2013, aimed to answer who the most overpaid college basketball coaches were.
First, Van Riper explains how he came upon his list: "To come up with our list of the most overpaid coaches, we crunched a variety of metrics — service time, winning percentage, NCAA tournament appearances, Final Fours and championships — and compared them to current salaries from USA Today’s database."
As for the list of college basketball's most overpaid, it begins with Missouri's Frank Haith, who Van Riper writes, "Never finished better than 6th in the ACC during seven years at Miami."
Next is a man who managed to win the 2012 national championship, Calipari. Through 21 seasons, he has made four Final Four appearances to go along with a title.
And so the question might be how much you are willing to dole out for one title, which may be met with an answer of "anything" by ardent fans.
Even Rick Pitino isn't safe from being labeled overpaid. Although, to be fair, this assessment came before Pitino led the Cardinals to the 2013 title. Van Riper may just want to take down the coach of the current No. 5 squad after last year's magnificent run.
And so we enter cautiously into another round of games and a proving ground of sorts for college basketball's elite.
As Philly.com's Jonathan Tannenwald reports, "For yet another year, Villanova is going home from the Big East tournament early," losing to Seton Hall Thursday, 64-63. The team, coached by $2.2 million man Jay Wright, may move its coach up a few ticks on Van Riper's board a few months from now.
Millions are given to top recruiters and brilliant basketball minds, but the real test comes during a tumultuous tournament that yields screams from fans and probably indigestion for these men making millions.
For some, losing early isn't enough punishment, because they may end up on a list of the sport's most overpaid. Although, they may just take the money over the shame.