In the final installment of a three-part series on spending in college athletics, Fanhouse.com's Brett McMurphy examined the budgets of Division I basketball programs from the 2008-09 school year.
Duke's $13.87 million annual budget was by far the largest, more than $3 million higher than second-place Marquette and at least twice as much as 330 of the 346 Division I schools. On the other hand, Mississippi spent the least on basketball at a mere $2.5 million per year.
It's always difficult to know how accurate data like this is because not every school shares the same accounting practices so they will place certain expenditures under different categories. Furthermore, a one-year window isn't always representative of a school's typical annual basketball budget because expenses like buyouts for a previous staff can skew it higher than normal.
As a result, those caveats are worth keeping in mind as you read through this list of the five schools getting the least bang for their buck based on Fanhouse's 2008-09 figures:
1. Virginia ($7.18 million, 12th)
Comment: It's surprising that Virginia would be the 12th-highest spender in college basketball considering that the Cavaliers have only finished above .500 in ACC play once since 2002. Ten of the 11 teams that have spent more than Virgina have been to a Final Four since 2003 and the other is Kentucky, which fell one win short last season.
2. Rice ($4.63 million, 45th)
Comment: If you had 20 guesses for which programs were the three biggest basketball spenders among non-BCS schools, chances are that Rice would not have been among them. The Owls have won a combined five Conference USA games in the past three seasons and haven't finished above .500 since 2005.
3. Marquette ($10.30 million, 2nd)
Comment: The Golden Eagles have been a perennial NCAA tournament team for the past decade and even reached the Final Four in 2003, but their budget suggests they should be enjoying even greater success. They haven't won a Big East title or made the Sweet 16 since Dwyane Wade's final season in 2003. Perhaps this figure includes capital improvements expenses such as debt from the construction of the Al McGuire Center?
4. Indiana ($6.94 million, 15th)
Comment: Indiana's budget is in line with its basketball pedigree but not with its results of late. Not only have the Hoosiers lost 20-plus games the past two years as they try to dig their way out of the Kelvin Sampson fiasco, they also haven't advanced past the second round of the NCAA tournament since 2002.
5. Georgia ($6.29 million, 19th)
Comment: Next season could be a special one for Mark Fox's Georgia program, but the Bulldogs' recent results haven't lived up to their surprisingly high top-20 budget. Georgia hasn't finished above .500 since 2007 and its only NCAA tournament appearance in the past eight years was because of an out-of-nowhere SEC tournament run in 2008.