Louisville Cardinals players and coach Pitino celebrate basket agasint Syracue Orange during second half in Big East NCAA men's basketball game in New York

Louisville tops list of most valuable college basketball programs

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Every year, Forbes releases a list of the most valuable programs in college basketball. Louisville tops the list season, valued at $38.5 million during the 2012-13 season.

The Cardinals also topped Forbes’ list last season at $36.1 million.

It’s another in a steady list of accolades the Cardinals have acquired over the past few weeks. Earning the number one overall seed in the NCAA Tournament after winning the Big East Conference tournament championship and earning a share of the Big East regular season title.

The success, according to the article, can be attributed largely to the opening of the KFC Yum! Centrer in 2010-11. The ticket sales were up 28.4-percent at $14.2 million after the opening. The contributions to the team are on the rise as well, reaching $20.4 million last year.

Kansas — now worth $32.9 million — along with North Carolina ($32.8 million) and Kentucky ($32.1 million) come in in second, third and fourth, respectively. Duke was down a bit, ranking 11th at $17.1 million in net worth.

More than the rankings, this is a clear-cut example of how big of a business major college athletics have become. I won’t get into the “pay for play” argument — that’s an entirely different post in itself — but these schools generate millions in revenue for schools.

These numbers definitely give us all something to think about.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: