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Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

These two investors called Duke's big win

Steve Pagliuca and family cheer on Duke at the NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship game in Indianapolis on April 7, 2015.
Courtesy Steve Pagliuca

Two big-money managers can claim bragging rights for predicting Duke's championship Monday night.

Steve Pagliuca, managing director at $75 billion private equity firm Bain Capital and co-owner of the Boston Celtics, correctly predicted in a March 18 story that the top-seeded Blue Devils would win their region and ultimately the whole tournament. A Duke alum, he was in Indianapolis for the game with his family.

Pagliuca also correctly predicted that Kentucky would make the Final Four, but missed on choosing Arizona and Virginia.

"It was a fun ride!" Pagliuca said in an email Tuesday.

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John Brynjolfsson, head of Irvine, California-based hedge fund firm Armored Wolf, also nailed the Duke win.

Brynjolfsson, who runs $500 million in assets, also correctly told that Kentucky would make the semi-finals. He did get half of his Final Four picks wrong: No. 13 seeds Harvard and UC Irvine were bounced early in the tournament.

Steve Cohen , the billionaire head of family office Point72 Asset Management, correctly predicted that Kentucky would lose, but said it would come to Notre Dame (The Fighting Irish lost to the Wildcats 68-66 in the quarterfinals). Cohen was right in choosing Duke and Wisconsin to make the Final Four.

Two hedge fund managers to pick incorrectly were Paul Tudor Jones of Tudor Investment Corp. and Jaffray Woodriff of Quantitative Investment Management. Perhaps emotionally swayed by allegiance to a former school, they predicted that their alma mater Virginia would win it all. Seventh seed Michigan State beat second-seeded UVA in the tournament's third round, 60-54.

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