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Princeton Wins! 2011 Salary Madness Predictions

Is someone in your office setting up a pool to predict the winner of the NCAA Division I Men’s basketball tournament? Maybe you’re rooting for the team with the best record in your favorite conference or are participating just for fun. While it may not make sense when it comes to strength and skill, PayScale welcomes you to follow our tradition of choosing the winner by our favorite factor: salary.

For the fourth year in a row, we have decided to do what we do best and study salary information related to the tournament. We’ve researched all of the schools invited and pitted them against each other according to their graduates’ average salaries. We focused on the salaries of people who attended the schools and are now 5-15 years into their careers, approximately 30 to 40 years old.

So, after the winning three-point shots have been replayed and the final game’s net has been cut, which players and their classmates are most likely to score big after the tournament? The Tigers of Princeton University are the winners with an average post-graduation salary of $102,000 per year. It seems that whether or not the Princeton players get into the NBA, they’ll likely be able to afford a nice car, just not a collection of them.

Who else came out on top? Last year’s Salary Madness winner Duke University was second, with $99,000 per year and then Georgetown University and UCLA filled out the rest of our “Fat Wallet Four.” Schools with some of the lowest salaries include Morehead State, University of North Carolina at Asheville, and Alabama State University.

This years results may highlight the cumulative effect of a multi-year recession. “For returning teams, salaries were just slightly down this year,” says PayScale research analyst Ryan Moore.

The average salary amongst all of the teams went from $69,000 to $68,000 per year. And, while the winner, Princeton ($104,000), is sporting a higher salary than last year’s winner Duke Univeristy ($102,000), the bottom team Alabama State ($37,800) is over $10,000 per year below last year’s bottom place team, East Tennessee State ($49,400).

Who will win the tournament this year? We don't know. But, we did pick the winner last year: Duke University.

Are you curious where you favorite team landed in our line up? See our predictions for Salary Madness 2011.

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