With March Madness in full boom, The Daily Beast ranks the fans behind the teams. From Auburn to Army, at these colleges people rabidly support their basketball squads—no matter how squalid.
To find out, The Daily Beast started with a list of the 75 schools with the best merchandise sales, using the most recent quarterly data from the Collegiate Licensing Company, which represents 80 percent of the collegiate-wear market. These are schools that clearly support their colors. From these 75 schools, they then looked at average attendance for the 2010-2011 season of men's and women's basketball, compared to arena capacity (women's and men's basketball teams typically play in the same arena—in the interest of consistency they used the capacity number for the men's arena for the few schools where women's basketball is played in a smaller arena.)
To calculate the most enthusiastic college fans in the country, they added each school's merchandise rank and attendance-to-arena capacity-ratio, and divided that number by each team's Ratings Percentage Index for the 2010-2011 regular season. RPI score takes into account strength of schedule and win-loss record. The NCAA does not release RPI scores, but several trusted sources calculate RPI—for men's basketball they used CBS Sports' RPI scores, and for women's basketball they used RPI scores from Collegiate Basketball News, which has supplied the Associated Press with RPI scores for more than a decade. The schools with strong merchandise sales and average attendance, despite relatively mediocre basketball performance, are those that made the list.
(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)