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NCAA brackets ranked by tuition

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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

TESS VIGELAND: So you filled out your NCAA college hoops brackets last weekend — sure in the knowledge that Murray State would never beat Vandy. And the Fighting Irish would have no trouble handling Old Dominion. Oops.

Well, if basketball isn’t quite doing it for you, here’s another way to go about bracketology: Rank how much it costs to go to any of the schools in the tournament. Abe Sauer of the Web site The Awl has done just that.

Abe Sauer: I did some research on tuitions for all the different schools that were originally seeded by the NCAA, and then ran the brackets based on those schools’ tuitions.

Vigeland: So how’d your bracket turn out? Who were the winners, and perhaps, the losers?

Sauer: Well, a school that I actually had to look up, Lehigh — I think I’m pronouncing it correctly…

Vigeland: Yes you are.

Sauer: That’s in Pennsylvania, Wake Forest, Richmond and Vanderbilt were the Final Four — all of them coming in above $38,000 a year. The losers, depending on how you look at it, might be the ones paying the $40,000 a year to attend Richmond.

Vigeland: Right. Any Cinderella in here?

Sauer: Not really. I guess the Cinderellas would be the schools charging less than $10,000 a year that made it into the third round. UC Santa Barbara and North Texas came in… North Texas is $7,000, UC Santa Barbara was just over $9,000.

Vigeland: So how does all this compare with what the sports world is actually predicting.

Sauer: I don’t think it’s very close. It’s probably not going to look anything like my bracket.

Vigeland: Well, obviously, there’s some kind of social commentary in here. What are you trying to say?

Sauer: The interest is just looking at discrepancies between schools that are all involved in the same athletic tournament and how wildly different they actually are in tuition. You know, I had the question of school at Marquette at $29,000 and a school at Brigham Young at just over $40,000. Is there really a $25,000 per year premium difference on the education you get there? I don’t know.

Vigeland: Where’d you go to school?

Sauer: The UW, Wisconsin, Madison.

Vigeland: Ah, so we are Big 10 rivals then.

Sauer: Oh really? Where did you go to school?

Vigeland: I went to Northwestern, where sports were not a factor.

Sauer: I was about to say. Where is Northwestern this year?

Vigeland: I don’t even know.

Sauer: I just wanted to hear you say “no.”

Vigeland: Um… no. And how’s Madison going to do this year?

Sauer: I hope they make it to… It’d be nice to see them in the Final Four. I don’t think I would pick my money bracket with them in the Final Four, because I want to win.

Vigeland: OK. Abe Sauer, appreciate you talking to us.

Sauer: Thank you very much.

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