Did you know...
In the last 25 years, only six schools not currently in BCS conferences have qualified for the Final Four:
UNLV (1987, 1990-National Champions, 1991)
Utah (1998-national runner-up)
Houston (1982, 1983, 1984)
George Mason (2006)
Of those schools, only George Mason has been to a Final Four in this decade.
Of those schools, UNLV, Memphis, and UMass were caught cheating and later put on probation.
When they made their appearances in the 1980's, Houston and the former Memphis State were in "power" conferences of that day, the Southwest and Metro conferences, respectively.
Memphis would probably be off this list and in the Big East (BCS) if they were 300 miles east and in the Eastern Time Zone, to join their traditional rivals Louisville and Cincinnati.
It's really hard for a school in a middle-to-lower tier conference to get to the Final Four, especially without being caught cheating. In many ways, it's easier for a middle-of-the road team from a big conference to get on a run in the Tournament and advance.
George Mason's run in last year's tournament was a huge, huge, huge accomplishment.
Money will buy lots of things. Things like coaches, practice facilities, recruiting budgets, and chartered planes for road trips. Big money is generated through big-time football.
Now, more than ever, football (especially the BCS) drives the bus.