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Nate Silver: Louisville Cardinals Have Best Chance to Win Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament


Louisville Cardinals fans and many, many others weren't too pleased Sunday when the men's team was made a No. 4 seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.The fans thought the Cardinals, who dominated the American Athletic Conference, should've been seeded higher. Sports commentatorsagreed.Well, the Cardinals and their fans can take solace in one notable endorsement—famed statistics guru Nate Silver. Writing Monday on the newly launched FiveThirtyEight.com, Silver and his colleague Matthew Conlen give Louisville the best chance of winning the NCAA Tournament.FiveThirtyEight lists the Cardinals as having a 15 percent chance of winning it all.The Florida Gators (14 percent chance of winning the tournament), the Arizona Wildcats (13 percent), the Kansas Jayhawks and the Virginia Cavaliers (both 6 percent) follow Louisville. You can see predicted outcomes for all 68 teams from FiveThirtyEight here.FiveThirty Eight said theprediction's model considers"a composite of power rankings, pre-season rankings, the team's placement on the NCAA's 68-team S-curve, player injuries and geography."In related news, Louisville—the defending national champion—is once again college basketball's most valuable team, according to Forbes magazine. It's the third straight year UofL has gotten that designation.Forbes said the program is worth $39.5 million. Themagazine attributes the success largely to the KFC Yum Center: The new home court allows Louisville to host huge gameday crowds, and the team has ranked third in average home game attendance in every season since its opening (Kentucky and Syracuse have ranked first and second, respectively). Last year the Cardinals collected $12 million from ticket sales alone – Xavier, at No. 17 on our list, makes that much in total annual revenue. Alumni have also been pleased, as the school counts a massive $29 million in contributions, nearly 75% of which it attributes to the basketball team. Add on some $6 million in NCAA and conference distributions and another million in parking and concession sales, and you’ve got the sport’s best recipe for success.All that said, the KFC Yum Center's finances have been a topic of concern and discussion in Louisville for a while now.

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.