Cramer's March Madness: Top western stock picks

All this week, Jim Cramer has been honoring the NCAA March Madness by creating his own bracketology for "Mad Money." His goal is to use the NCAA college tournament to teach investors about stock picking.

So far, he has revealed his top picks for the South, East and Midwest regions. Now, he's completing his grid by naming his top stocks for the West.

"In a perfect world, people would spend the same amount of effort picking and analyzing their own stocks, which is why every year I try to equate the March Madness with your portfolio," said the "Mad Money" host.

The No. 1 seed in the western region is the University of Wisconsin. The story behind this team is all about offense—for every 100 possessions they score an average of 124 points. Wowzer! Head Coach Bo Ryan has been with the school for 14 years and has taken the team to the NCAA tournament every season.

To Cramer, the Wisconsin Badgers remind him of Wells Fargo. It has awesome offense in the form of accelerating revenue growth at 3.8 percent in the latest quarter, from negative 1.5 percent in the first quarter of 2014.

"But even if the Fed's rate hikes don't come as quickly as you're expecting, this remains the best bank to own, as Wells Fargo currently has some of the strongest net interest margins in the business," Cramer said.





Parker Jackson-Cartwright #0 of the Arizona Wildcats
Bert Thomas | J and L Photography | Getty Images
Parker Jackson-Cartwright #0 of the Arizona Wildcats

The No. 2 seed in the West is University of Arizona, which has been rumored to be the only school that could potentially beat Kentucky and win the tournament. A couple of losses to mediocre teams in December and January had fans questioning if Arizona was really that good. However, it has since recovered, and people are watching them for the win.

In Cramer's perspective, Arizona resembles Facebook because that stock has also been stalled for months; it has traded sideways since the end of September. However, now it looks like it's got its mojo back and could break out on the upside.

Many investors questioned Facebook when it bought Instagram in 2012, but Cramer has seen research that estimates Instagram is now worth $33 billion.

"Mark Zuckerberg is crazy like a fox, and I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt when it comes to how Facebook spends its money."

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Another speculative team that the "Mad Money" host has on his radar is the University of Arkansas Razorbacks, which was impressive last season but didn't get the attention it deserved. This reminds Cramer of his fave Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, which is No. 2 in chicken-focused quick service chains, and hasn't received the respect it deserved after a fantastic multiyear run.

So as you play with your March Madness brackets throughout the month, Cramer wants you to remember that picking stocks can be just as fun as picking NCAA winners. And a high-quality company like Facebook or Wells Fargo could be much more lucrative than a bracket can ever be.

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