Busted? I meant “Bracket Busted”, of course!
If you’re like me, you may have only one team (Michigan State, in my case) remaining in your NCAA Men’s Final Four bracket for this coming weekend. If you have two or more teams left in this group of four teams, then you should be looking forward to your new nickname at the office next week, Champ!
Though the four “Elite Eight” games from last weekend were probably the best collection of weekend college basketball I have seen in a long time, the majority of us are now left with a perplexing thought for the official “Final Four” games on Saturday.
Who are these four teams, and which one(s) should I now pull for?
A great question, and, as you figured, your SwampSwami has a unique way to help you through the process.
I think you should choose your favorite of the Final Four squads (Texas Tech, Virginia, Michigan State, and Auburn) in the same manner as you prefer to build your personal investment choices!
Are you an ultra-conservative investor? Is your style more of a defensive investor who likes cash, short-term securities, and bonds and generally stays away from risky stocks and long shots? You may be the type of person whose gut thinks that the next market crash is just around the corner, right?
Virginia should be your choice!
Yes, Virginia, you are the lonely #1 seeded team remaining. Virginia’s stockholders remain (understandably) a wee bit skeptical after being a #1 seed last year and losing in the first round (a dubious distinction) to #16-seeded commuter school from Baltimore (UMBC).
With a head coach (Tony Bennett) who shares a name with one of America’s favorite singers, the Cavaliers are trying to go from “Rags to Riches” and redeem their fans’ high expectations this season with a national championship trophy.
Virginia is your “defensive” choice (#1 in the country, in fact). It took an overtime game with Gonzaga (80-75) for Virginia to give up 70 or more points in the year 2019 to a team not named Duke!
Offensively, the Cavs aren’t exactly the team to pick if you want to get rich quick. They rank a paltry #215 in the NCAA in team offense. The Cavs philosophy is to play smart, play defense, and play to win.
Is your investing style a little less conservative but still patient? Do you prefer a little higher mix of stocks and bonds and find yourself attracted to “Balanced” mutual funds and a few blue chip stocks with good dividends?
Texas Tech is the team for you!
Defense, you ask? The Red Raiders are button-downed type of basketball team who will defend your “cash” for the full forty minute game and, if needed, into overtime. They’ll keep the game close with a slowdown pace and have not given up more than 69 points to an opponent in four NCAA tournament games. They are a solid #4 in the nation in defense this season.
Alas, like Virginia, your team’s offensive returns will probably be a little below average, too. The Red Raiders’ offense can be, at times, a little boring and don’t offer the highest yields. Texas Tech’s offense is rated #159 in the land in points scored.
However, T-Tech’s offense features a solid international “investment” that has provided great dividends for the team the entire season. Italy’s Davide Moretti is the team’s second leading scorer at about 12 points per game. Shooting guard Jarrett Culver (19 points per game) is from the city of Lubbock and has scored in double digits all but one game this season. Culver’s stock is rising (as in NBA) in the Texas Tech portfolio.
Maybe you prefer a little more risk and return in your portfolio, but you want a seasoned manager?
I present to you – Michigan State!
The Spartans are your blue-chip dividend team with an experienced manager in Coach Tom Izzo.
Want balance in your team? Michigan State ranks 48th in team offense and 35th in team defense. On most days, the Spartans will give you a great effort on the defensive end and just enough offense to win consistently.
Did I say “win”?
Michigan State won the Big Ten regular season and then the Big Ten tournament. This squad figured it deserved a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Surprisingly, Michigan State received a #2 seed instead. They were also placed in the same bracket as #1 overall seed, Duke, which equated the team being the WORST #2 seed and eighth best team in the field entering the tournament.
Sparty has been playing with a huge blue-chip on their shoulder in this tournament. Ask the Duke Blue Devils. The #1 overall seed was just sent home by Michigan State on Sunday afternoon.
This is the team to pick if you like seeing a team whose players are not focused on playing in the NBA and plays with the toughness of their Hall-of-Fame coach.
Finally, do you feel LUCKY? Well, do ya???
Then, your team is the Auburn Tigers!
Auburn has been on a bull run (12 wins in a row) like no other team remaining in the Final Four. In addition to having the greatest on-set cheerleader for national telecasts in former Tiger, Charles Barkley, this Auburn team has been your high yielding portfolio that just keeps on returning dividends for its long-suffering supporters.
The investment portfolio includes pearls, too. Shooting three-point shots to win games can be risky, but Auburn’s coach, Bruce Pearl, provides an inspirational lift every game for his merry band of long-distance scorers.
Auburn’s defense hasn’t been pretty (107th in the nation) as their primary objective is to simply outscore and wear down the other team. However, Aubie surprised many as they dispatched an SEC blue-blood rival, Kentucky, with a gritty win on Sunday. They won without the team’s third-leading scorer (Chuma Okeke) who is out for the season with a knee injury.
In sum, any of these four teams has a reasonable chance to win it all. Of the remaining teams, only Michigan State (Magic Johnson’s 1979 team and Izzo’s first winner in 2000) has won a national championship in men’s basketball.
There is no clear-cut favorite remaining in this weekend’s Final Four.
So, pick a team which suits your personal investing style, and have fun with this year’s Final Four!