Think you can pick the Final Four teams? Test your skills, and win free trades if you’re right.
Now that Super Bowl 50 is in the record books, sports fans are turning their collective attention to NCAA March Madness. With the conference championships and the big tournament quickly approaching, there’s a handful of schools that you can nearly guarantee will make it deep into the tournament almost every year.
These teams have long-running track records of success year-after-year, class-after-class. They might not always win the championship but you know they will always put up a tough fight.
These NCAA stalwarts include names like the Kentucky Wildcats, the team with the most wins (2198) and highest winning percentage (0.764) in NCAA history. The UCLA Bruins are another team with a long history of championship success. Kentucky may have more wins, but UCLA has more championships (11) and more Final Four appearances (18).
In addition to being the alma mater of the greatest basketball icon of all time, Michael Jordan, the North Carolina Tar Heels are another team college basketball fans can count on when March rolls around. North Carolina has made 18 Final Four appearances and has won no less than 36 regular season conference championships.
In terms of teams to beat in 2016, you always have to start with the reigning champions. The Duke Blue Devils have struggled this season, falling out of the top 25 ranking for the first time since 2007. However, when it comes to coaching stalwarts, it doesn’t get much better than Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose 1,038 wins (at time of publication) are the most all time. With 39 tournament appearances under their belt and Coach K at the helm, the Blue Devils are certainly a team to beat in 2016.
Duke may be the 2015 champs, but schools like Villanova, Kansas, Virginia and Oklahoma, the top four AP-ranked schools, will be looking to knock off Duke and carry over their regular-season momentum into the tournament as well. These schools are relying on the hope that, much like even the best stocks have down years in the market from time to time, Duke, Kentucky, UCLA and North Carolina’s past performances may not be indicative of their 2016 results.
The kinds of characteristics that define these programs, such as leadership, quality, consistency and excellence, are also traits that long-term investors look for in stocks. However, like Duke’s slight disappointment this season, historically top-performing stocks can have off years. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Getting into the specifics, Wall Street stalwarts include names like Boeing Co (NYSE: BA), 3M Co (NYSE: MMM), Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC) and E I DU PONT De Nemours and Co (NYSE: DD).
Through both the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and one of the strongest bull markets in recent history, each of these four stocks has outperformed the S&P 500 in the past decade.
Investors can count on these stocks’ 2.5%-plus dividend payments just like basketball fans can count on at least one of the four NCAA teams mentioned above ending up in the Sweet 16 year-after-year.
The characteristics that sports fans recognize in the elite NCAA basketball programs at Duke, Kentucky, UCLA and North Carolina are the same types of characteristics that long-term investors want in stocks.
Sure, the teams and stocks mentioned above may not be the best performers on any given year, but they are safe bets for elite performance in the long-run.
Disclosure: the author has no position in the stocks mentioned.
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