People follow the so-called smart money on investing, so how about March Madness?
Some prominent investment managers are contrarian in their NCAA men's basketball tournament Final Four picks.
Steve Cohen, the billionaire head of Point72 Asset Management, thinks No. 3 seed Notre Dame will upset No. 1 Kentucky to emerge as the Midwest region winner, he told CNBC.com via a spokesman.
Cohen—who oversees about $10 billion at his Connecticut-based family office—likes more conventional teams to round out the Final Four: No. 1 Wisconsin in the West, No. 1 Villanova in the East and No. 1 Duke in the South. His alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, didn't make the tournament.
John Brynjolfsson, head of Irvine, California-based hedge fund firm Armored Wolf, said two underdogs will make it to the semifinals in Indianapolis: No. 13 seeds Harvard and UC Irvine.
The Columbia College grad, who runs $500 million in assets, also thinks Kentucky will make the Final Four, but he said the Wildcats won't win.
"As a fiduciary, I can't root for Kentucky, as that would destabilize a few bookmakers who laid out huge odds against them," Brynjolfsson joked to CNBC.com. He likes Duke to win it all.
Others are sticking with blue-chip teams.
Another billionaire, private equity titan David Bonderman of TPG, thinks undefeated Kentucky will win it all. Bonderman, a University of Washington grad whose firm oversees $65 billion, also likes No. 2 Arizona, No. 1 Duke and No. 2 Virginia to make it to the Final Four.
Steve Pagliuca, managing director at $80 billion Bain Capital and co-owner of the Boston Celtics, thinks the top four teams will be Kentucky, Arizona, Virginia and Duke. A Duke alum, he likes the Blue Devils to go all the way.
Like Pagliuca, several prominent investors picked their own alma maters to win, a move some see as a classic sentimental trap.
A case in point is billionaire hedge fund honcho Paul Tudor Jones. He thinks his beloved No. 2 seed UVA will win the national championship. Jones' Greenwich, Connecticut-based Tudor Investment Corp. runs about $13 billion.
Jaffray Woodriff, another Virginia alum, who runs $1.6 billion hedge fund firm Quantitative Investment Management, also thinks the Cavaliers will ultimately cut down the net. QIM is based near UVA in Charlottesville, and Woodriff is a donor to the school's squash program.
Some money managers, true to their secretive nature, declined to give or did not respond to requests for comment.
A few examples of those who prefer to keep their picks private include Julian Robertson of Tiger Management (a North Carolina alum); Josh Harris of Apollo Global Management (a UPenn grad and Philadelphia 76ers co-owner); and Jamie Dinan of York Capital (another UPenn alum and Milwaukee Bucks co-owner).