HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Powered by Ja Morant’s no-look passes and Dylan Windler’s step-back 3s, March Madness has been a bonanza for the Ohio Valley Conference.

The league placed two teams in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for the first time in 32 years. Then Morant’s Murray State Racers and Windler’s Belmont Bruins both won games during the first week of play, making them darlings for underdog-loving fans everywhere.

That’s over now — both teams lost their second tournament game. But the big payoff for the conference’s 12 schools comes over the next six years, a windfall of at least $6.77 million that starts in 2020 with a $1.1 million payment from the NCAA.

Every year, millions of dollars are distributed to 32 Division I conferences by the NCAA based on what teams get into the tournament and how far they advance. Last year it was $216 million.

The hoops showcase is the centerpiece of the NCAA’s revenue. And in recent years, the portion of those funds going to the five most powerful conferences in college sports has increased, according to an AP analysis of more than $3 billion in payments distributed from 1997-2018.

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